Published: April 3, 2014
UKIP's General Election candidate for Burnham-On-Sea stands down

Burnham-On-Sea's UKIP candidate for the next General Election suddenly resigned on Wednesday along with his local party chairman – amid bizarre claims that the party had been "infiltrated by the Glastonbury occult."

Jake Baynes was due to stand in next May’s election for UKIP in the Wells constituency, which covers the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge area, but he resigned and claimed there was civil war within the party in Somerset and a vendetta against him, and he "wanted nothing more to do with politics".

The UKIP branch chairman Graham Livings has also quit his post this week, claiming that the Somerset party had been "infiltrated" by "devotees of the occult" based around the alternative community in Glastonbury.

But two leading members of UKIP in Somerset, who run a healing centre which claims divine intervention from the Archangel Michael, dismissed the 'occult' claims as "ridiculous".

Mr Baynes first hit the headlines five years ago when he and the local party refused to bow to pressure from UKIP's national executive not to put up a candidate in the 2010 General Election. UKIP’s national leaders feared the long-standing Euro-sceptic Conservative MP David Heathcoat-Amory would be defeated by UKIP splitting the Tory vote. That did indeed happen, and Lib Dem candidate Tessa Munt was elected by a slim majority.

Mr Baynes was selected again by the UKIP Wells branch in the spring of this year, as we reported here, but he said that within a day, a campaign from within his own party had begun against him. It appears to have culminated with both sides of the internal civil war within the Wells branch contacting national UKIP Chairman Steve Crowther.

Wells UKIP branch chairman Mr Livings said on Thursday that he was also quitting his role. He explained: "Jake Baynes is a great loss to UKIP because he’s just the profile of person the party needs. I was a founder member of UKIP down here but what happens when a party grows, you get infiltration into the membership."

Mr Baynes, 40, said he suspected factions against him had even sent an anonymous letter to the headteacher of the school where he works as a teacher.

He said: "Wells is a bit fractured. There are elements within that are not quite right. Within days people were plotting against me, telling me I wasn’t a suitable candidate. I thought I was a suitable candidate, and I was selected by a vote. The letters and emails and accusations against me are unfounded. They say they get their divine inspirations from the Archangel Michael, and to be honest, I don’t think that has a part to play in politics," he added.


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