UKIP Leader Paul Nuttall said today: Following a meeting of the Party's NEC on Friday, it was decided a response to a letter written to me by Arron Banks in February was appropriate.
Subsequently, the letter below was sent to Mr Banks early this morning and is copied here in full:
I write in reply to your letter to me of 26th February, which has been made public.
As you will know, at the end of November I secured the largest mandate ever given to a Leader of UKIP. This mandate was based on my call for unity within the party, as well as my proposals for reform.
I entirely agree that our party needs to look closely at our brand and how we operate, how we interface with our membership and how we communicate with voters. These are all things I promised to pursue if elected as Leader and I remain committed to those aims.
During the last week I have consulted with several significant supporters and donors who, in addition to our grassroots members, have helped to sustain UKIP’s financial position in recent years. I am pleased to say that they have pledged to continue to support the party going forward as we work to make the changes that are needed.
On Friday, I met with the NEC to discuss the contents of your letter. The NEC resolved to keep open their invitation to you to meet them on 27th March in London to discuss the ideas outlined in your letter. Any and all contributions to our work are welcome. However, I should make clear that, whilst I am open to working with you on improving and enhancing our party, the Party Chairmanship is not on offer.
In addition, whilst the NEC are keen to discuss and examine your ideas, they are concerned about continuing negative and damaging publicity flowing from this matter. Mindful of their primary responsibility to safeguard the reputation of UKIP, they have asked me to tell you that should you choose to further criticise UKIP, its leadership or the elected representatives in either the media or on social media, they will withdraw their invitation.
Finally, I’m also aware that you recently applied to re-join UKIP. The NEC have asked me to make clear that this application will not be processed until you have met with the committee on the 27th.
You have been a great supporter of the Party over the past two and a half years, and a major force in helping to achieve the Leave vote. For this we continue to be grateful and remain hopeful that you will look to work constructively with us as we move towards building UKIP into a real force for change in British politics.
Paul Nuttall MEP