The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has reached out to The Queen to complain about its exclusion from the Remembrance Sunday event at the Cenotaph in Westminster tomorrow (8 November). The party said it must be represented at all national events because 3.8 million Britons voted for it during May's general election, making it the UK's third most popular political party.
John Whittingdale, the culture secretary hit back and saying that a 30-year old agreement stipulated that only leaders of parties with more than six MPs could take part in the event. During the general election UKIP won almost 12% of the national vote, but only had one MP elected to Parliament, Clacton's Douglas Carswell – a former Conservative MP.
In the letter Mike Hookem, a UKIP MEP, said: "I write to you as our Queen, asking for you to intervene on the part of over 3.8 million of your people to allow UKIP to have representation at the Cenotaph on 8 November as is right for the third most popular political party in the country."
Hookem, who represents Yorkshire and the Humber in the European Parliament, has also demanded an explanation from Whittingdale's office that co-ordinates the invitations to the ceremony, as to why UKIP leader Nigel Farage has not been invited to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph.
In reply Whittingdale said: "The laying of wreaths by Parliamentary leaders is governed by a formula put in place in 1984 with the agreement of The Queen and the Speaker of the House of Commons following discussion with party leaders based on the number of Westminster parliamentary seats.
"This stipulates that only the leaders at Westminster of parties which had won and taken up six or more seats at the preceding general election should lay wreaths."
Dougals Carswell, UKIP's only MP took to Twitter to say: "UKIP was allowed to meet the Chinese president. Protocol, you see. A party with representation in the Commons. So why not at Cenotaph?"
UKIP was allowed to meet the Chinese president. Protocol, you see. A party with representation in the Commons. So why not at Cenotaph?
— Douglas Carswell MP (@DouglasCarswell) November 6, 2015
Hookem served in both the RAF and the Army before being elected as an MEP. A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said that the invitations to the event were"a matter for the government".
Wreaths will be laid on Sunday by Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, the Democratic Unionist Party's Westminster leader Nigel Dodds, and Scottish National Party Westminster leader Angus Robertson.