TORQUAY – UNITED KINGDOM – John Rees-Evans has left the UK Independence Party in order to help front a new party with what he calls “a massive engagement and outreach program.”
The new party, known as Affinity, was registered with the Electoral Commission last night, soon after Rees-Evans came fourth in the UKIP leadership election, which was won by Henry Bolton.
Rees-Evans has spoken exclusively to NMC, and has said that he was initially approached with the idea of the party last year after the UKIP leadership election in November 2016, but those behind Affinity agreed to withhold launching the party in the hope of a potential cooperation with UKIP. As well as official registration completed yesterday, Affinity also launched a website – www.reboot2020.com – which states:
“The process for a seriously FRESH START in politics and for a SMARTER FUTURE for everything in Britain has begun in earnest. We offer a real opportunity for the politically-homeless and those seeking change.”
Rees-Evans said that Affinity aims to “undertake the biggest employment drive in British history.” The group behind the party, who cannot be disclosed yet, along with Rees-Evans, are aiming high with ambitions to employ 41,000 staff, have 650 constituency offices and produce their own TV and radio content. Rees-Evans’ first intention is to “increase the awareness of the benefits of Direct Democracy amongst the electorate,” adding: “the people who approached me are not party politicos, just people that believe in Direct Democracy and want Great Britain to be prosperous and free, and they are donors that will be funding it and participating in the development of Affinity. It is too early to be thinking of conflict with other parties.”
Rees-Evans was keen to stress that he leaves UKIP on good terms, saying: “Since my teenage years I have been a strong supporter of what UKIP do. I became involved in campaigning for them because I hoped they would adopt the Direct Democracy program, but because the membership voted for something else, I do not believe they are the vehicle for this, but I will continue to support their cause from the sidelines. It’s been a privilege to meet and to have worked with some of the most selfless and hardworking people I have ever met. At some point in the future, it would be nice to be able to agree to some sort of collaboration between Affinity and UKIP, but if not, I wish them all the best.”
Jack Oliver Smith is the Associate Editor of New Media Central. Follow him on Twitter @MisterJackSmith