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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 October, 2004, 19:10 GMT 20:10 UK
Kilroy warned to get back in line
By Ben Davies
BBC News Online political staff in Bournemouth

UKIP leader Roger Knapman has given his clearest signal yet that his patience is running out with Robert Kilroy-Silk's jockeying for his job.
Roger Knapman
Mr Knapman intends to carry on as leader

In an interview with BBC News Online, Mr Knapman rejected suggestions he had agreed to step down early as the former TV presenter had claimed.

He added: "He will make his own luck over the next short while. I hope he will settle down and be a team player."

Mr Kilroy-Silk announced his desire to lead UKIP on Sunday.

Mr Knapman had already indicated that Mr Kilroy-Silk could be disciplined if he continued his campaign.

Kilroy-Silk list

Asked how far he will allow himself to be pushed by Mr Kilroy-Silk he says: "Well, I'm intrigued about that myself."

"Nobody is bigger than the party. We are a political party and not a chat show party," he said shortly before speaking at a UKIP fringe meeting near the Tory conference in Bournemouth.

"He needs to be a team player."

Asked if he was afraid of a party split he said: "I know there will be a UKIP list [of candidates] I sincerely hope there will not be a Kilroy-Silk list."

"I will take the party definitely into the general election ... on the other hand I don't say I will go on and on and on."

Showdown in Brussels?

Mr Knapman added that Mr Kilroy-Silk, who joined UKIP earlier this year and was elected in June to the European Parliament, would be "unwise" to pursue his bid to be leader.

"When we get to Brussels next week - and a number of colleagues have asked to discuss - this we shall let him know what their views are at that time."

Mr Knapman meanwhile said he doubted millionaire Paul Sykes, who earlier this week pulled the plug on his support for UKIP in favour of the Tories, could support current Conservative policies.

"Paul Sykes is not one to give money but he provides support with leaflets - well he knows the contents of the leaflets. He's quite an operator - you'd expect a man with 500m to be so," Mr Knapman said.

UKIP MEP Nigel Farage, who was due to speak at the fringe meeting, said new backer, businessman Alan Bown, was prepared to "liquidate" some of his assets if the party needed cash.

Regret

He said: "There is no way that Paul Sykes supports the Tories' current agenda but I think his feeling is he doesn't want to see them damaged any further given they are already terribly weak."

Mr Farage also expressed regret over the party's decision to contest every Tory seat - a position Mr Kilroy-Silk had urged at last weekend's UKIP conference in Bristol.

"Had we adopted a different policy or a different message on Saturday I don't think this would have happened quite like this," he said.

"Kilroy advocated it and it didn't have a very positive effect."




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