Published: 15:57, 17 August 2018
A new political party set up by Henry Bolton, the former Ukip leader, is in limbo after an election watchdog said voters could get it confused with a humanitarian relief charity.
The Electoral Commission has blocked the party ‘One Nation’ from being formally registered because it shares the same name as an Islamic aid organisation.
That is understood to be the Yorkshire-based charity registered as ‘One Nation’ which helps respond to emergencies, wars and natural disasters in countries such as Palestine, Syria, Bangladesh and Sudan, as well as the UK.
Mr Bolton, who lives in Folkestone, said he was frustrated by the decision, which means the party cannot put up candidates for election.
He criticised the commission for taking more than three months to reach a decision, saying it had limited the party’s efforts to raise its profile.
“It is extremely frustrating because I want to get the party ramped up and active. But we are in discussions with the commission and we may have to make some kind of modification. There is a requirement that voters are not misled and there is a registered charity by the same name.”
He said the party, which he set up after being ousted as the leader of Ukip, ran the risk of being in breach of rules around campaigning and public meetings under the ‘OneNation’ banner.
“It means we cannot put up candidates but on the other hand, it has given us more time to develop policies.”
In a statement, the Electoral Commission said that it was required by law to consider if a party name was likely to mislead a voter as to the effect of their vote were it to appear on a ballot paper.
“It is extremely frustrating because I want to get the party ramped up and active" - Henry Bolton
“It was the Commission’s opinion that the proposed name ‘OneNation’ was likely to mislead a voter with the existing organisation ‘One Nation’, a registered charity, as a voter could reasonably believe the proposed party to represent, or be to affiliated with, the charity of the same name. The application was rejected on this basis.”
Mr Bolton set up ‘One Nation’ after he was ousted as Ukip leader in a row over his relationship with Jo Marney, a glamour model from Maidstone.
He says the party will be dedicated to building a Britain that was "outward-looking" while "preserving its own heritage and culture - a nation that has a clear and comfortable identity and is proud to be called British".
More by this authorPaul Francis