Ours is a democratic party, and elections for the post of Party Chairman shall be held each year, as Section 7 of the Constitution makes clear.
This year, the long-standing member, Eddy Butler, our former very successful National Elections officer, is seeking to challenge for the leadership. And I, Richard Edmonds, a founder-member of the Party, and currently serving on the Party's Advisory Council, am supporting Eddy Butler's challenge, and for this reason: a leadership election, held under the rules of the Party Constitution, gives the members the opportunity to raise matters of major importance for our Party, and thereby in effect to hold the Leadership of the Party to account for their stewardship of the Party.
The matter that I want to see raised in this leadership election is the employment by our Party of an outside businessman, Mr Jim Dowson, who acts as a "consultant" to our Party at a salary of just under £2000 per week. Yes, just under TWO THOUSAND POUNDS each week.
At a recent Advisory Council meeting I spent a whole weekend in the company of Mr Jim Dowson, and I can say with all respect to him, that he is a forthright man, who answers all questions directly, without any fudge or smudge. At the Advisory Council meeting he confirmed to us that he was not a member of the Party, and he informed us that he receives £7,500 per month as a consultancy fee; that is £90,000 per year, just short of two thousand pounds per week, as his "consultancy" fee. Mr Dowson further informed us that he receives an additional £72,000 per year for managing a part of the internal administration of our Party. I will say here, that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that Mr Dowson does for our Party that we could not do for ourselves. And I say that it is a SCANDAL that an outside businessman be paid these colossal sums per week, and for doing what we could and should be properly doing ourselves. As I said to Mr Dowson at the Advisory Council meeting in front of the Party leadership, "Mr Dowson, we should not be employing you".
Eddy Butler's challenge is timely and most worthy. I hope that you will support it.