UKIP ‘saved from insolvency’ by donations – Gerard Batten

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UKIP has been saved from bankruptcy after donations of almost £300,000 were made to the party, its leader has said.

Gerard Batten said there had been an “incredibly generous” response to his appeal to raise £100,000 and “UKIP is now safe”.

A £175,000 outstanding legal bill was “paid by other means”, Mr Batten said.

Last month, Mr Batten emailed branch officials to say the future of the party was in question if they did not raise the money for running costs.

Calling it a “critical time”, he said when the sum – “purely for operational needs” – had been raised, the party “will be on a much surer foundation going forward”.

Days after the plea, the party was ordered to pay £175,000 in legal costs over a defamation case brought by three South Yorkshire Labour MPs.

The case had been brought by three Rotherham Labour MPs – Sir Kevin Barron, John Healey and Sarah Champion – over comments made by UKIP MEP Jane Collins about the Rotherham child abuse scandal.

Mr Batten says this has now been settled.

Meanwhile, a member of the party’s ruling National Executive Committee told the Financial Times that Mr Batten, who became interim leader in February, had offered to stay on for a year.

He was originally due to be in charge for 90 days, taking over from the party’s fourth leader in 18 months, Henry Bolton.

Mr Batten has told the BBC he was trying to get 740 candidates together for 3 May’s local elections in England, so it could qualify for a Party Election Broadcast.

The party has seen an exodus of members since the 2016 EU referendum and a poor performance in last year’s general election.