Paul Nuttall, UKIP’s long-serving deputy leader, has been elected to lead the UK’s third largest political party in the wake of the historic Brexit vote.
“Donald Trump has promised to ‘Make America Great Again’… We will put the Great back into Britain”, he told a crowd in central London.
The former university history lecturer and MEP for northwest England was elected with 9,622 votes (62.6 per cent). He will take over from Nigel Farage, who was installed as interim leader after Diane James stepped down after just 18 days in the job.
Suzanne Evans, a former Tory councillor and deputy chairman of UKIP, came in second with 2,972 votes (19.3 per cent), and former soldier John Rees-Evans – an outsider and anti-establishment candidate – came in a close third with 2,775 votes (18.1 per cent).
Mr. Nuttall framed himself at the “unity candidate”, and said shortly after his victory was announced he said he would “build a team of all talents from all wings of the party”.
“Only unity builds success”, he added. “For those who do not want to unify… then I’m afraid your time in UKIP is coming to an end.”
He announced Peter Whittle, UKIP’s former London Mayoral candidate, as his deputy leader. Patrick O’Flynn became his “principal political adviser” and Paul Oakden will stay on a chairman.
In the speech, he referred to his comments at the party conference in September, when he said he “fear[ed] for the very future of our party” unless the “cancer” of infighting ends. He is friendly with Mrs. Evans, who have described themselves as “Team Sensible”.
UKIP – New Leadership Announcement
Posted by UK Independence Party (UKIP) on Monday, 28 November 2016
Mrs. Evans was seen as the “centrist” candidate and has called Nigel Farage “divisive” in the past. She is a close ally and employee of “liberal” UKIP MP and former Tory Douglas Carswell.
Party Chairman Paul Oakden admitted telling Mr. Rees-Evans not to “rock the boat” during the leadership campaign – a similar approach used against Breitbart London Editor in Chief Raheem Kassam when he was in contention.
Meanwhile, Mr. Rees-Evans told Breitbart London earlier this month that a “faction” of “UKIP elite” wants to run the party “behind closed doors” and pull it in a “politically correct” direction to please the “mainstream media”.
Both Mrs. Evans and Mr. Nuttall refused to debate him face to face and he was shunned by the BBC in their coverage of the race.
He had promised to democratise the party and give members more decision-making powers, including using social media to broadcast UKIP’s message, without the need to go via a hostile media.
Mr. Nuttall has advocated targeting former Labour voters in working class areas for around ten years, and with the Labour party current riven with division, he sees a good opportunity.
The Liverpudlian told the Telegraph this weekend: “We have this fantastic opportunity, which we’ve never had before to this extent, to move into Labour working-class communities and mop up votes.
“I think in some of these communities we can replace the Labour party in the next five years and become the patriotic party of the working people.
“You’ve got a Labour party whose leader refuses to sing the national anthem, whose shadow foreign secretary sneers at the flag, whose shadow chancellor says nice things about the IRA.
“That isn’t going to chime well with working-class people.”
Mr. Farage predicted a “he” would win in his introductory remarks, before slamming Jeremy’s Corbyn’s Labour party for “praising” the dictator Fidel Castro and “abusing” fifty per cent of their traditional voters with their position on immigration.
“Despite a difficult summer for [UKIP]… the polls show that if there was a general election tomorrow four million people would still go out and vote for UKIP”, he said.