The papers of Alan Sked, founder and leader of the Anti-Federalist League (AFL) 1991-1993 and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) 1993-1997, have been released and are publically accessible in the LSE Library reading room. The collection throws informative light on the early years of the party and its predecessor, the AFL, and the British euro-sceptic climate of the time.

Sked had founded the AFL to oppose the Maastricht Treaty, which stood to increase the powers of the European Commission and was supported by the three main political parties, though widely unpopular in opinion polls. The AFL aimed to give voters a say in what it viewed as an important constitutional issue. Following the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 Sked and other anti-federalists changed tactics, founding the UK Independence Party in order to campaign for a complete withdrawal from the European Union. UKIP gained 1% of the vote in the 1994 European elections, but only 0.3% in the 1997 General Election after losing supporters to the Referendum Party. Sked subsequently resigned from UKIP, complaining that the party had been infiltrated by racists and the far-right.

The Alan Sked collection has four sections: AFL minutes, financial records, Chairman’s correspondence, Newbury and Christchurch by-election papers, membership records and press releases, 1991-1993; UKIP constitutions, Executive Committee minutes, Leader’s correspondence, general papers, membership records, policy notes for candidates, speeches and ephemera, 1993-1997; brief correspondence and general papers of the Bruges Group; and brief personal/biographical papers of Alan Sked.

Further LSE study resources relating to UKIP, euro-scepticism and the pro-Europe movement

  • UKIP policy papers, manifestos and newsletters are in the LSE Printed Collections.
  • UKIP ephemera is contained in the LSE Archives’ General Election ephemera collections for 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2010.
  • The papers of the Campaign for an Independent Britain, CIB. This collection includes the papers of related/predecessor organisations such as the Anti-Common Market League and the National Referendum Campaign.
  • On the pro-European side, the papers of the European Movement. This collection includes the papers of other pro-Europe campaign groups such as the Conservative Group for Europe.
  • Ephemera from the Common Market Referendum 1975, COLL MISC 0876.
  • Search within the LSE Archives catalogue using the search term “election ephemera” to find ephemera collections that show the way the main political parties – as well as campaign groups – have approached Europe as an election issue over the years.

Between them, these collections show how the debate around Britain and Europe has changed and developed over a period of several decades.

External archival resources

  • An oral history interview with Roger Knapman (Leader of UKIP 2002-06) is in the History of Parliament Oral History Project at the British Library Sound Archive.

 

Kate Higgins

About Kate Higgins

Kate Higgins is an Assistant Archivist in the LSE Library.