Phil Woolas’s disgraced election agent now Ukip chairman in Oldham

Quite remarkably, it turns out that Joe Fitzpatrick, who was then Labour MP Phil Woolas’s election agent in 2010, has ended up the chair of the Ukip branch in Oldham.

Why ‘quite remkarkably’? Because the campaign Joe Fitzpatrick agented included such nasty untrue smears of his Liberal Democrat opponent that Phil Woolas was taken to court and stripped of his election win.

Joe Fitzpatrick was agent in election notorious for the smears used

The man who helped mastermind a campaign that broke electoral laws and triggered the resignation of a former minister is at the heart of Ukip’s push to win the Oldham West and Royton by-election.

Joe Fitzpatrick, Ukip’s interim Oldham chairman, was the electoral agent for Labour MP Phil Woolas when he was accused of inflaming racial tensions with false statements about his rival…

The court heard how Mr Fitzpatrick wrote an email during the tightly-fought campaign warning: “If we don’t get the white folk angry, he’s gone.”

Numerous senior Ukip sources said that Mr Fitzpatrick, who has since joined the party from Labour, would play a central role in attempting to win the Oldham West seat.

Jane Brophy, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the by-election, said the revelation exposes the “true face of Ukip” and demanded he play no role in the campaign. [Daily Telegraph]

It is incredibly rare (and rightly so) for the courts to over-turn an election result due the content of the leaflets put out during it.

For Ukip to have chosen as their branch chairman the person who was agent for a campaign which went so far into the realm of lying and smearing as to trigger this rare legal sanction shows remarkably bad judgement.

As with Ukip’s embrace of Neil Hamilton, rather than appointing such people to posts within Ukip, Ukip should been politely showing them the door.

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