I am writing to you on behalf of the NEC, as their appointed spokesman. I am aware that the Party Leader is arranging to meet groups of members during the coming fortnight. This is quite proper, and part of his role. However, it is also natural that he will take these opportunities to promote himself and, if asked, to respond on his own behalf when questions arise regarding his leadership and the NEC's recent vote of no-confidence.
It has been suggested that the NEC should seek to engage in counter-argument, issue a leaflet or statements, or in some way 'put its case' in the run-up to the EGM. I want to make clear that this is not what we will be doing.
The current situation is not a contest between the Leader and the NEC. In passing the vote of no-confidence, the NEC was simply doing its job, representing UKIP's members, activists and elected representatives in what it considered to be the proper way.
This triggers an EGM at which the members can determine, according to the Constitution, whether to uphold that decision. If they do not, the twelve elected members of the NEC will stand down, and a new twelve will be elected.
If the members decide that Henry Bolton is the man to rebuild the party's fortunes, so be it. But this has nothing whatever to do with the Constitution, or the role and authority of the NEC, which will remain exactly the same.
The NEC has been looking at reform of its composition since 2011, and more actively since 2016. That will require a full redraft of the Constitution, consultations and hustings around the country, and a ballot of the members. There has not been a time when the requisite focus, resource and leadership stability has been available to do this, for several years past. However, the NEC has an adopted plan for Constitutional reform, starting with member consultation, which will proceed this year regardless of the outcome of the EGM.
So, the NEC will not be engaging in a 'campaign' before the EGM on 17th February. I look forward to explaining the NEC's decision, in Birmingham on that day, and receiving the members' approval, or otherwise.
If you would like any individual NEC member to attend a meeting to answer your questions in the meantime, I am sure they will be more than happy to do that.
Steve Crowther, for the NEC