Roger Lord

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Person.png Roger LordRdf-icon.png
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Deselected as UKIP's parliamentary candidate for Clacton

In May 2014, Essex County Councillor Roger Lord was selected as UKIP's candidate for the Clacton constituency at the 2015 General Election. On 28 August 2014, Clacton's Tory MP Douglas Carswell announced he was defecting to UKIP, resigning from Parliament and causing a by-election. When Carswell was confirmed as UKIP's candidate for the Clacton by-election, to be held on 9 October 2014, Roger Lord resigned both from the party and as the UKIP County Councillor for Brightlingsea.[1]

Initial refusal to stand down

Roger Lord initially refused to stand down in favour of Douglas Carswell with local UKIP activists saying that the local party may not be willing to adopt Carswell as the candidate. In addition, Lord hinted to Sky News that he was willing to defect to the Conservatives having described Carswell as 'stupid' and 'gutless'. Anne Poonian, Secretary of the Clacton UKIP association, was quoted as saying:

Carswell's taking a very big risk. We may not adopt him as our candidate, who knows? He has to be adopted by us, the local association. At the moment he’s just an unemployed MP. Who knows whether he’ll be adopted?[2]

However, UKIP headquarters pointed out that different rules apply to the selection of a candidate at a by-election and that Carswell has been formally and correctly chosen as the candidate.[3]

Deselected after all these years

In an opinion piece headed "Nigel Farage deselected me after years of friendship – who could trust him now?" and subtitled "I was the candidate for UKIP in Clacton until Douglas Carswell came calling. Farage has replaced democracy with a casting couch" in The Guardian on 4 September 2014, Roger Lord wrote:

A man should keep his word. This simple phrase can be found in various formulations everywhere from the Bible to Alfred the Great’s first laws. It is the basis of common law and justice. Everyday life could not operate without the trust of strangers, even though we all know there are people we cannot trust or should at least be cautious of. Perhaps we all omit to look closely at people we consider friends. Suddenly you find that some petty jealousy, that may have been festering for years, spills out in an act of vengeance.

Initially confusion predominates; but your mind then rationalises the situation. A small phrase here or there, weeks ago, will come to mind, then others follow until a pile of evidence sits before you in your mind’s eye.

Then you have to come to terms with how stupid you have been not to notice, what a naive fool, so easily led and distracted. There is inevitably anger. But in my experience, anger and hatred cloud the mind and do not solve problems. I have seen people tear themselves to bits, ranting and raving. Far better to go for a long walk on the beach or in a wood; take a deep breath and get things in perspective. Realise how lucky we all are in this country, just look at the news – every day almost – and you can be thankful for living in a wonderful place.

My solution to solving problems may seem very passive. A big impact was made on me by a very humble man, a Nepalese Sherpa, Dorje Khatri, recently killed on Everest along with many others.

After spending a month with him climbing, he became a strong influence on the way I approach problems in life. I wonder how he would have defined the concept of trust. I trusted him to tie a knot in a rope, at minus whatever degrees in temperature, at nearly 20,000 feet, ready to abseil 1,500 feet from a summit. He trusted me to ensure that the carabiners were clicked in, to secure him as well. If they are not, you can fall in a second. A simple handshake and a smile can seal a lifetime of friendship and trust.

In the past few days these concepts of trust and anger have been to the fore as I think about Nigel Farage after many years of friendship and support on my part. Hatred is not part of my nature, anger I admit is there. The loss of trust is irreplaceable. Can anyone really trust him? Would you really sign a treaty with this man? I have met people with whom I totally and passionately disagree, but there is a degree of trust because I know where they stand. What do I think of Farage? Well it now seems that he has replaced democracy with his casting couch. Apparently if you fit the bill he will slip you into the position of his choice. Now that Douglas Carswell is Nigel’s bitch, he will perpetually be picking up the political equivalent of prison soap. Trust me on that one.[4]

Veteran local politician

Roger Lord, a veteran of local politics who prior to his current term at County Hall had served as a Conservative county councillor in the early 1990s, blamed internal party back-stabbing for the move and said it was time for a break from politics. He said:

"I think it is time to draw a line under this. In mountaineering terms it’s time to cut the rope and touch the void, and see what life brings. This was not something I was considering before. I was enjoying my role, it was intellectually challenging and we were achieving some good things. But I have had debates closed down by my party and it explains several other things that have been happening to me of the past six months or so, and in political circles within UKIP. There have been personal allegations and all sorts of implied stories and I was wondering where it was all coming from. I never got on badly with any opposition councillors. Sadly it’s my own side that can’t get on with me for some reason. I was the agent for Tendring and the area, and I put up a bit of money – a fair chunk – to pay for the leaflets and various things, which is no small amount of work. And the first person who stabbed me in the back was the bloke I helped to get in.
"I was talking to Nigel Farage three or four weeks ago, telling him what I was doing in Clacton, and he said ‘I very much doubt Douglas Carswell can be unseated’. It was not a targeted seat for UKIP, but I said I could win.
"But Nigel Farage didn’t let on, he knew from the off. I think he could have confided in me and told me not to waste my time, instead of me being deselected as candidate and told to quietly shuffle off.
"According to the rules I have the right to address the national executive but I was rung up and sworn at and told to shut up. I don’t want to deal with fools like that. There are bigger things in life and I don’t want to sink to that level. I know they say politics is a dirty game, but it is not really, it is an intellectual battle between two parties. It is not personal animosity.
"I think there was a certain degree of naivety from Douglas Carswell, but I have no personal animosity to him. But I can’t see what is so special about him. He is not a blinding intellectual light leading the masses towards Nirvana. What insults the people of Clacton is that this was a deal made during a discreet meal in Mayfair in London. But will Stuart Wheeler [a key UKIP donor] come down to Brooklands in Jaywick and tell people how their future candidate was decided?"

Roger Lord, who stood for UKIP for the Saffron Walden seat in the 2010 General Election, said he was looking forward to having a break from politics:

"There’s a big wide world out there and I have many interests, not confined to Britain. I will apply my head to business a bit more now."

Mr Lord, a farmer, said he would be handing his support to Liberal Democrat Gary Scott, Tendring District Councillor for Alresford, who he described as a "very genuine person" for the forthcoming Essex County Council by-election.[5]