The party clearly isn't in financial difficulties (the party finances are published on the Electoral Commission website) and even if it were, it is a limited company so the members aren't liable for any of the party's debts. The billboards that are going up around the country for this election were paid for by a £1.5m donation from Paul Sykes, Alan Bown has given millions to the party, Stuart Wheeler has given a substantial amount personally and brought in many more donors. The party's financial future has never looked so good.
The author of the letter has committed fraud which is serious enough at any time but because the letter is trying to unduly influence voters not to vote UKIP with the threat that the party is on the verge of bankruptcy and they will be liable for the party's debts, it is a corrupt practice under the Representation of the People Act 1983. Where a corrupt practice has been carried out by an agent of a candidate but not the candidate themselves, the candidate can be found guilty by his agents. The author of the letter and the person they are acting on behalf of face an unlimited fine and up to 2 years in prison. This is a serious offence.
The party has issued the following statement to members:
Some members have received a letter in the last 24 hours, postmarked Birmingham, and purporting to be from "UKIP Loyalist". It's anonymous, of course, because these people are not very brave. It raises the fear that the sky is about to fall in on UKIP and that our members will all be personally liable for sizeable sums and should resign immediately – though it also says that ex-members are at risk, so that rather shoots a hole in their logic.
The important thing about this letter is that it is a cruel and malicious smear.
To prove it, the central pillar of their argument is wrong: we are not an "Unincorporated Association" whose members are liable for its debts. We are a company limited by guarantee, meaning if UKIP was ever bankrupted the 13 people who form the NEC would lose £1 each. Having started badly, the letter goes rapidly downhill, raising people's fears about non-existent crisis meetings and making allegations.
If you receive this letter, please put it with its envelope in a plastic bag (so that it can be fingerprinted by the police) and send it to your regional organiser. If you don't know who your regional organiser is, contact your branch Chairman or Secretary who will have their details.
It is exactly because UKIP is at its highest ever level in politics that we see such underhand tactics, something we have grown to expect. However, each smear story actually increases our support and we are looking forward to a huge result in the forthcoming elections.
So thank you once again for supporting UKIP and as we bring about the change sought by so many across our nation.