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UKIP Leadership Election – The runners and riders

It is clear that the party is heading towards a leadership contest and that it is going to be a particularly bitter and divisive one, regardless of the intentions of all those involved. The following comments are intended to form a summary to ensure all members and supporters have the same information that is flowing from the various parties and sources.

To date we have 7 who have declared a position or who are ‘actively’ considering their position.
Bill Etheridge         Declared on the Sunday Politics that he would be a candidate

Liz Jones                 On a separate BBC program said she was actively considering her position

Raheem Kassam    Has confirmed his intention to run and is campaigning on social media

Steven Woolfe       He declared on the day after the Diane James resignation and there has been some social media activity but little since the altercation in Strasbourg

Suzanne Evans        There is evidence that she is going to run mow that her suspension is over, but nothing from Evans directly

Nigel Farage             Made himself Interim leader very quickly but has gone on record that he will not come back

Paul Nuttall              He said categorically in July he would not stand. I know he has been spoken to again and the old adage of never say never.  However I understand he has been asked again about his intentions but no decision was forthcoming.

Lisa Duffy                Ran last time and has not declared either way on any potential re-run

Looking at the party there is a very small number of people who could do the job. The potential candidates listed above come from a very small pool of potential candidates and I have not listed the ones who have either excluded themselves (e.g. Douglas Carswell) or who ran last time and have either said nothing or have excluded themselves from running again (Phillip Broughton)
The question of the rules governing the contest is being raised on social media already, mostly on behalf of Steven Woolfe by his supporters. The “Woolfe Pack” is less well organised this time and has been knocked back on its heels. Until yesterday there seemed to be an intention to run a unity candidate, Bill Etheridge referred to this in his interview with Andrew Neil. That is now off the table, or so it seems from what Bill Etheridge said on the Sunday Politics.

The question of Woolfe’s candidacy will be the thorny issue. There are demands being made again from the same groups and people that Woolfe be allowed to stand. No one to date from the NEC, as far as I can see, has said anything but they are clearly trying to preempt any decision particularly over the Strasbourg incident. Those members who favour anyone else other than Woolfe are putting forward the defection issue as more important than any altercation between the two MEP’s.

The papers are running stories about other matters concerning Woolfe. The Mirror ran a story about an ‘altercation’ at a football event in Chester from which Woolfe was ejected after a run in with the local Liberal Democrat candidate. Woolfe’s team refused, according to the Mirror, to comment. There was a suggestion that alcohol was involved but again there was no comment about this as well. Other rumours abound but there is serious concern being shown by the more sensible members of the party over Woolfe’s own admission that he was actively considering defecting to the Conservatives. It is also worth noting that many ordinary members consider his revelation that he was going to go is sufficient for them to withdraw support from him as a potential leader.

The press, from the Mail to the Huffpost, is also pushing the defection angle. There are reports from at least three papers/news outlets in the Chester area. They of course are only interested in a story and many in the press want an anti-UKIP story but they are right in asking the question about his suitability to be leader. This is not the first time that a story from the man himself has done both him and the party damage. In the run up to the close of nominations the papers ran with his failure to declare his conviction when required to do so, this is a simple point.  It is also a question which has been asked but not yet answered by the Woolfe camp; did he declare the conviction on his party application form before the 2012 selection process, never mind the legal requirement to do so for the PCC application.

Finally on the Steven Woolfe matter, there have already been rumours circulating about the NEC’s intentions to suspend one or both of the participants involved in the pugilistic event last week. The NEC will be in a cleft stick here and need to deal with both matters together rather than separately as any individual suspension will be viewed with great suspicion as an attempt to stop one or other candidate running.

As a starting field we have 7 possible candidates. All have points to commend them. It will be for members to decide once they have heard all the facts.

Finally to quote John Bickley;

“The next Leader must be someone who’s bulletproof, has no baggage that our enemies can seize on (like breaking electoral law) & must be loyal to the Party, not looking for the next ‘chance’ with the Tories or Labour”

Photo by Jessica M. Cross

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39 Comments on UKIP Leadership Election – The runners and riders

  1. We now have a much better idea of who the potential leadership hopefuls are over the next two days I will produce an up to date list and commentary for your perusal.

  2. QT tonight Duffy definitely not standing
    Andrew Neil Programme Suzanne Evans says she and Nuttall still “considering”

  3. Ref a previous comment concerning Raheem Kassam doing social networking, it’s good as far as it goes but nothing beats media exposure. Press and tv are still the best way to get the message out. Don’t forget RT. They have millions of viewers in this country, many of them UKIP friendly plus UKIP members of course, people who are so tired of lefty media hype they can’t bear to watch mainstream news any longer. The more positive exposure we get the better. We need to roll back the negativity generated recently.

  4. I realise that a leadership contest is inevitable but before that takes place we surely have to consider certain facts which have not been directly alluded to in the above debate. Firstly there was the Steven Woolfe debacle and his ‘late’ submission. In addition someone (unidentified as yet I believe but almost certainly at HQ) ‘leaked’ the drunk in charge conviction. Result: the perceived popular choice is disbarred and embarrassed. Secondly, at great expense, a leadership contest is held and the perceived popular choice wins but shortly afterwards ‘resigns’. Thirdly, the once-again perceived most popular candidate withdraws from the contest. Is there any point in holding another leadership contest because on the evidence available if the choice of the membership does not agree with the opinion of a cabal at HQ which obviously wields considerable if not ultimate power within the party, then we will have yet another re-run when the new ‘leader’ is again hounded out of office? That would certainly be the death-knell of the Party. Unless and until we learn exactly what has gone on with regard to the position of leader i.e. we oust the cabal on the result of evidence obtained by an enquiry, then there is no point in holding a contest nor electing a new NEC. We can all hold our own opinions but I believe, because of our (yes) success in the Referendum, there are other forces at play in this situation. If anyone is unable to conceive of that happening, they do not, in my opinion, understand what ‘power’ means in the UK.

  5. With Woolfe appearing to have blotted his copy book again there are only two candidate who are viable. If Paul does not stand then the only other person who will stand up and be counted is Raheem. He will force Carswells hand and deal with Hamilton

  6. “Raheem Kassam Has confirmed his intention to run and is campaigning on social media”

    Raheem and the others might like to consider that some of us neither need nor want any truck with social media.

    • David,

      I think Raheem is trying to attract much younger members with this offer of a £2.00 membership fee for those under 22 yrs of age. The sudden influx of Labour members comes to mind when I heard this, but I do not think that has turned out to be such a good thing has it?

  7. An updated article will come out soon as more people openly declare for the Leadership race. Peter Whittle AM, at a party in Soho – London last night, declared his intention to run for the leadership of UKIP

  8. Ajax obviously knows of this group but did not promote it.

  9. I see stuff in the news today about Peter Whittle……….

    Anyone know anything about his CV , Policies ??

    Perhaps he could be asked to set it all out on ukipdaily ?

    • Oh………I see he is launching his campaign ‘ in a Soho champagne bar ‘ – not the best of looks, I would have thought.
      Why not get the train up to Hartlepool and launch it there ?

      • Because what we really need is someone from the North to represent us, I don’t think they will be very impressed if we send them someone from London quite honestly.

        That is why I took the decision not to vote for a Londoner last time and will be doing the same in this next vote.

  10. Sad to have to say this but perhaps the most important factor in electing a leader these days is that they must look good and perform well on TV and in person on platforms. Their team can deal with the nuts and bolts, write speeches and so on. Politicians get judged on appearances as much as policies, though to make progress we have to appeal to Labour supporters whilst not becoming socialists, not an easy task.

    On or two of the suggested candidates, whilst good people and useful team members, simply will not do.
    Paul won’t stand, Nigel is busy getting far too cosy with Trump, Woolfe may by now be too damaged, his actions recently, at best show poor judgement, a great shame. Personally I now don’t know who I could vote for with confidence.

    Meanwhile the Tories in Parliament are busy conspiring with the establishment to get Brexit lite, steal our policies and we continue to shoot ourselves in the feet. Our areas, thank goodness, continue to function well and deal satisfactorily with day to day business, one great mercy. It seems clear that area representation on the party governing body is essential.

    We must all get behind whoever the new leader is, they must form an inclusive team and try to unite us but in future any real trouble makers, including those who brief publically against their colleagues, must be removed, however painful that is. Feeling amongst local members seems to be that they will give the party until early December to get it right and if we’ve not done so by then consider if they can’t best serve their country and area some other way, though so far no one has indicated an inclination to join another party. In fact the Tories and Labour are far more divided than us, the media is just kinder to them. May’s government looks entirely different to Cameron’s, the biggest policy shifts I have ever seen are the result and Labour are in an impossible situation but it is UKIP who will get the stick.

    All I can say is please, up there in the clouds, just get on with it as quickly as possible, a golden opportunity is slipping away, I don’t much care, within reason, how we do the job or who is the figurehead, the alternative is very strong Tory government, headed by a remainer, unchecked, for many years.

    • Paul,

      I agree up to a point, but if the leader is unable to do the real work behind his public front, how is he going to know if those delegated to do that work are performing as required?

  11. We have a candidate – Dickie Bird – in Witney which votes on 20th Oct. UKIP came third in 2015 with 5352 votes (9.7%) behind Labour with 10046 (17.2%) with Cameron winning with 35021 (60.2%). We need only take 2350 votes off Labour to come second in Cameron’s old seat. A clear warning. Given that Witney is not a hot bed of Marxist-Leninists I doubt they are loyal to Corbyn. So it could be an opportunity for UKIP (if the party were in plausible shape). But how many senior members and leadership will be there? Why isn’t the party pouring into the place and out canvassing Labour?

    • Stout,

      Are we throwing all our resources into Witney, because if we are not we should be. I would much rather that Nigel Farage was going there instead of America, but perhaps he does not find it as ‘glamorous’ an option.

      • Trump can manage without Nigel’s support and I hope he succeeds, if only to give the political establishment a much needed and well deserved kick up the backside.

        However Trump is not liked by many in the UK so potential members might be put off by Nigel’s support for him.

        Nigel did a great job for us over many years, but has moved on to new pastures and cannot continue as leader.

  12. The request for CV’s is noted. They are included in the pack sent to members when they vote BUT i have asked all declared candidates to submit them so that the membership has a longer and more open chance to see them ask questions and make a considered choice

  13. Paul Nuttall has earned a shot at the leadership post over the last few years, where he’s learned a lot of skills & risen well to the challenge, & I would recommend Ray Finch as Deputy. This is the best team that UKIP’s front-bench can put out at the minute to try the ‘Hartlepool’ Labour across the Midlands & the North, which is where a huge political prize lies.

    Woolfe has increasingly shown signs of erratic behaviour under stress which isn’t a good sign for a prospective political party leader, & – as competent as he is in a media interview, and an asset to UKIP front-bench as a spokesman – he has zero spotlight charisma, a necessity in the modern televisual era for a political party leader.

    • Ajax I think a lot of people would be delighted if Paul Nuttall stood, but up to now he has shown no sign of wanting to do so.

      I would like an honest answer as to why he legged it after the vote instead of staying in post as Deputy Leader. Had he stayed the ship would have stayed steady right up until the last leadership fiasco, in fact, he may well have moved smoothly into the Leadership position.
      Before he did that, he showed himself to be an able UKIP ambassador and has the added attraction of being a household name.

      Woolfe, for me, is not credible after flirting with the Tories, leave aside anything else.

  14. As an old but faithful member of UKIP, I am mortally distressed at the antics of the hierarchy and senior members of the party. If it wasn’t for Nigel and his faithful followers, we would never have got Brexit. Now, with Nigel having resigned, we are faced with appointing a ‘new’ Leader and I am very sad to say that none of the potential candidates fills me with enthusiasm! I reject Steven Woolfe and Suzanne Evans, for very obvious reasons, and I have to look at the other potential candidates. None of them appear to offer UKIP or myself, the dedication, LOYALTY, and other desirable qualities that I would like to see. If any of them were involved, in any way, with the in-fighting and internecine ‘warfare’ which is destroying the party, then they should withdraw from the leadership contest.
    I have no solution to the leadership problem, but problem there is, and if it is not solved satisfactorily then I fear for the future of the party, and this makes me very sad, because the potential for the party is enormous.

    • John,

      I agree but we have to choose someone, so that is why I will probably most likely vote for Bill Etheridge if Paul Nuttall does not stand, which it looks like he is not going to do.

      Personally, I don’t want to vote for someone on the NEC or a ‘Faragista’ as we need someone to unite the party so that we can push forward. I am sure people are going to pick plenty of holes in Bill’s history, but like I have said before no one is perfect!

      • This could end up like the Trump v Clinton contest! Pick the best of these 2! Or don’t vote at all. I’d like to see Nigel 2 appear!
        But then I always was a dreamer!

  15. October 2016 number of active UKIP members 18,000 and falling.
    By May 2017 and the County Council elections and depending on who is the new leader the number of UKIP activists could be 9.000, I expect we shall see leading UKIP figures and local councillors in tory areas of the country defecting in droves to the nascent middle but radical Teresa May led Conservative Party – some of them in search of a safe seat in 2020 and some of them returning home to their roots.
    Having won the referendum we are now in danger of losing the war of attrition to get BREXIT against the powerful interests of the political, economic, and media elites. Very sad!
    Already I feel that at least half our MEPs are considering their personal career options given that in May 2019 they will be redundant and having enjoyed the glamour of Brussels pay and lifestyle are in part closing the book and thinking of number one. Some of them have been completely absent from all the events in the last few months. Are they on extended holidays?
    This leaves 8 million votes up for grabs – I refer to those none party none political voters of Brexit particularly in the North and Midlands who will not vote tory but for whom both sovereignty and immigration are key and connected issues.
    Labour has 500,000 members; Conservative 150,000; Green 90,000; Libdems 80,000; SNP 100,000; Plaid Cymru 40,000.
    If UKIP doesn’t organise itself better a new party of English Nationalism will replace it toute suite.

    • The situation isn’t as bad as your post suggests in its entirety, & UKIP is currently the political entity with the winds of change to its back, but you are right about the danger of fragmentation & jumping ship by its elected echelon, & there is a risk of structural fragmentation of the party from this, which May is deliberately trying to induce with her mainly bogus statements (& as soon as UKIP has gone, it would be back to Tory business as usual, selling England for a nice personal profit).

      The answer to this threat is for UKIP to appoint dynamic leader, not a Farage keeping the seat warm (and letting the party go off the boil in consequence) lifeless puppet, who points to a new exciting star for the party’s course & says “let’s go, follow me, I know what to do to save our country”. Once that’s done everything will fall into line behind its momentum.
      I suggest this new star should be UKIP becoming the main party of radical Opposition in England’s politics to Toryism, and replacing the rust bucket that is the failed Labour Party in England’s Midlands & North as the S.N.P. did to it in Scotland. The more intelligent Labour M.P.’s (Frank Field, and Daniel Jarvis, etc., who are internally raising the alarm within Labour about it now) in the North see the threat & they are highly uneasy about it, which they wouldn’t be if they weren’t vulnerable.

      In the absence of Farage, I suggest that a leaderhip team from Liverpool of Paul Nuttall & Ray Finch are currently the best suited to lead this endeavour, given their skills, demeanours and personal origin in that area of the country.

    • Dear citizen,
      You say “October 2016 number of active UKIP members 18,000 and falling.
      By May 2017 and the County Council elections and depending on who is the new leader the number of UKIP activists could be 9.000”.
      A 50% drop seems a bit pessimistic.
      We don’t have the figures for activists, but we do have the figures for total membership.
      So far the trend in total membership, using such figures as I have, has been :
      End 2014 ………………… 42,163
      End 2015 ……………….. 40,276
      13 Oct 2016 ………….“over 35,000”
      Regards, Toby

  16. As a “member in waiting” I obviously cannot vote but nevertheless would be interested in the experience and qualifications of the various candidates. I’m sure everyone is.

    So I hope that every candidate will publish their CV and a detailed policy statement. If they don’t already have the latter then they have effectively ruled themselves out.

    Of course we also need to know their plans for dealing with May. I await their various statements but not in hope of them complying with my expectations.

  17. It’s got to be Suzanne Evans, she has the intellect and is very confident with the media.

    • On the contrary, she is weak. In a debate immediately after the referendum she was quite good with her set speech but for poor on questions from the audience. Just not able to think on her feet very well.

      She has made a number of disparaging remarks about ordinary members aligning with Carswell on “nativism” and participated in a fringe event at Llandudno that claimed immigration and Farage must be kept out of the campaing and not even mentioned.

      She also joined the conservative run Vote Leave board in opposition to her own party and which Board’s policy was to attack UKIP as Matthew Elliot explained (Daily Politics 21st July).

      She is an ex-Tory councillor who on failing to become a PPC left the Tories to use UKIP as better vehicle for her vanity.

      All that said, I hope she runs provided we get to question her, and I mean sustained questioning. It is time she was fully exposed for what she is.

      • Exactly, Stout. I would have thought that anyone who supported the virtually Conservative Vote Leave – whose campaign director Dominic Cummings, still fighting the battle (with supposed ally Ukip) after the war has been won, just rubbished Nigel Farage’s contribution to gaining Brexit, and by implication the whole of UKIP – anyone who supported the virtually Conservative Vote Leave instead of their own party organisation, and actively briefs against their own party’s policies, has far less legitimacy than Woolfe who, like many Ukip supporters, will have listened to Saint Theresa parroting several Ukip policies and wondered whether Ukip’s raison d’être has gone. And then concluded that she’s a fake and decided to redouble their efforts through Ukip.

      • And the lady allegedly maligned Nigel, on national radio. That should be sufficient to rule her out, apart from any other possible failings.

      • I agree. Suzanne Evans has blotted her copybook too many times to be a welcome or trustworthy leader. What did she and Carswell say about ‘nativism’? Am I to understand that they disagree with putting the rights and interests of the historic people of this country before those of anyone else? If so, why are either of them in UKIP?

    • I have to agree with Stout Yeoman. Suzanne Evan’s defence on her Llandudno comments was that she was simply making the point that party colours should be dropped when campaigning for the referendum. That defence removed any vestige of respect that I may have still had for her. If that had been her intention then why not simply say “drop party colours”, which is nothing more than simple common sense. Why choose to single out Farage, quoting “research” that showed him to be less trustworthy in the eyes of the public than Tony Blair, and all this to a fringe audience that contained more journalists itching for an anti-UKIP story than activists?

      Add to that her position on the board of Vote Leave, an organisation that campaigned on a briefing document which called for an alternative path to Article 50 that works for the EU, and for a new EU-UK Treaty, and her position in UKIP is in my opinion untenable.

      I also agree that she is not a good media performer. She is more media friendly than many party figures, being ex-tory and ex-BBC, but does not stand up well to hostile questioning. I recall one Question Time, possibly aired the night before the first Doncaster conference, when she was very poor indeed. Asked a question about UKIP’s vote in the European Parliament she responded “I don’t know, I’m not an MEP”. Laughable.

    • Evans is an impressive politician in many ways (although I haven’t been impressed in the dealings I’ve had with her, where I found her pretty useless personally), but Godfrey Bloom called her correctly as a Bow Group type of Conservative, & I think it would be dangerous for UKIP’s future to put someone like that in its leadership position at this immature point in the Party’s development. I can quite easily conceive of her doing a Ramsay MacDonald if she was offered of place in the Tory Party as part of a decapitation strategy from those endemically Plutocratic weasels.

      UKIP needs someone who believes in its own historic mission, & I don’t believe that she does.

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