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Tuesday, 2 August 2016

UKIP Hopeful Is Not A Barrister

The race to succeed Nigel “Thirsty” Farage as leader of UKIP has been well and truly joined, and the favourite appears to be Steven Woolfe, like Farage one of the party’s MEPs. One uses the word “appears” advisedly, as Woolfe is having trouble getting his name on the ballot. He may also have problems explaining away two other minor matters in his past that have come to light recently.
Woolfe’s problems began on Sunday. Having left the submission of his application until the last moment, he was 17 minutes beyond the deadline, although he claimed it was not his fault: “Mr Woolfe blamed a technical blunder for missing Ukip's leadership nominations deadline, leaving his bid in the hands of party officials … Mr Woolfe insists he is still in the race despite overshooting the deadline of noon on Sunday”.

Who will make the decision on his candidature? “The party made it clear there would be no final decision until the completion of vetting procedures on Tuesday”. And there was another potential problem: “Mr Woolfe has also denied allegations that he allowed his membership to lapse in 2014, which raised issues about his eligibility under controversial new party rules”. But that was only the start of his troubles.

The Mail is all over his past as well: “Ukip leadership favourite forgot drink-drive charge: Steven Woolfe faces being kicked out of the race after failing to declare conviction”. He ran for Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012, but having been convicted of any offence for which jail is a potential outcome disqualifies any applicant. Drink driving falls into that category. Whether the conviction is spent is irrelevant.
Woolfe’s excuse is that he somehow forgot about it. That may not convince the assembled Kippers later today. But what is worse still is that he has given the impression that he is a barrister, when he is not. Nor has he explained how he came to cease being a barrister. Indeed, the Sun’s take on him, claimingThe barrister wants the party to fill the space left by Jeremy Corbyn and his warring factions” is still live.

That story goes on “The 48-year-old barrister is favourite to take over from Nigel Farage in a leadership race which starts in earnest today”. But the Barristers’ Register of the Bar Standards Board cannot locate anyone called Steven Woolfe. The BBC has hinted at his no longer practising, telling “Steven qualified initially as a barrister but moved into financial services and is presently legal adviser to a company whose clients include hedge funds”.

And The Week describes him asThe former barrister hoping to lead Ukip”. Yet Woolfe has not yet moved to explain why this should be. Why did Woolfe cease to be a practising barrister? Did some event occur that caused the BSB to take action? Was it merely a personal choice? And why is he waiting for the questions to be asked before getting the information out there? There’s another one for the party’s vetting procedures.

One dodgy leader to be replaced by another? It could only be UKIP.


Malcolm Redfellow said...

Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.

Woolfe's Linked-in page is very specific:

• LL.B., Aberystwyth, 1990;
• Inns of Court Law School, 1991-2;
• "Barrister practising In London Chambers in commercial, criminal and common law" (spot the vaguenesses there), 1992-6;
• UBS, Equity Derivatives and Wealth Management Compliance Analyst, 1996-7;
• Counsel, DLA Piper, 1999-2000;
• Standard Bank, Deputy Head of Compliance, 2003-4.
— those three latter posts all being no more than a year each. Why?
• Aurelius Compliance Consultants, "Senior Compliance Consultant & Partner", 2000-2007 (a further puzzle: this firm was dissolved 20th September 2005, may now operates Marcus Woolfe Ltd, out of a flat in Clapham Manor Street, SW4);
• Boyer Allan Investment Management LLP, 2006-2012 (a further oddity: there's an apparent twelve month overlap between those two posts, perhaps "explained" by the previous entry);
• MercuryJove Advisers (search me!), General Counsel Consultant 2012-2014 (two months missing between those last two appointments — "Gardening leave"?

Anonymous said...

I know that the Kippers MEPs don't actually turn up and do anything constructive in Europe, but a compliance analyst ought to see a deal of mis-match over all that lot.

I'm sure his constituents would. After all, he does also represent those in his patch who might wish to have their interests represented in Brussels/Strasbourg.

No. Don't laugh.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

May I correct myself?

My earlier comment was a trifle premature.

As I'm musing elsewhere, there is still more Leadsom fragrance than that.

Might we have expected to be told here by which of the Inns was Mr Woolfe “called to the Bar”?

If one were to be a “Barrister practising In London Chambers in commercial, criminal and common law”, were it a Chambers of even modest distinction, why not name it?

But the one that has me particularly Fox-ed (another expert in the secret arts) is the “Senior Compliance Consultant & Partner” of Aurelius Compliance Consultants (itself born out of a previous existence as Boxbawn Associates Ltd). Aurelius, as noted above, was dissolved on 20th September 2005, as — on the same day was Marcus Woolfe Ltd, both operating out of Flat 15A, Clapham Manor Street, SW4. A “Company Check” leads us to Mr Steven Marcus Woolfe. A David Woolfe appears as a fellow director/consultant, who then appears as a Director (Consultant) of Colchian Consultants Ltd (dissolved 18th February, 2014) of Appt 4, 20 Church Walks, Llandudno. There must be an awful lot of consulting to go round.

SteveB said...

Meanwhile classic quote from another dodgy Kipper who clearly doesn't like him, Neil Hamilton. He criticises Woolfe for leaving it "to the 59th minute of the 11th hour". No Neil, he left until the 35th minute - that's why it's written as 11:35!

SteveB said...

Me again.

Woolfe stood for the London Assembly a few years ago where one article described him as having been a Conservative councillor in North Wales.

Perhaps those facts, his age and place of birth are all coincedences and the man featured in this blog is someone else......

Malcolm Redfellow said...

@SteveB: Y'know — I like, I really like, that find.

On that basis, the man is an anal orifice. But — hell's teeth — that's what the Kippers have been used to, and that's what they wish. Who are we to complain?

Anonymous said...

For accuracy your headline should read "not a practising barrister".