The media were in abundance as the party’s new leader was announced as Paul Nuttall.

Nigel started the event by saying the European Union is likely to go down hill, especially after next week’s Italian vote. Of the whole European Union, he said: “The project is fatally weakened. If there was a general election tomorrow, four million people would still go out and vote UKIP, despite the difficulties we have had.”

He spoke of the families who have voted in the same way for years, but once they have voted UKIP, they consider themselves UKIP voters, and added that 86 percent of UKIP voters in July were upbeat, optimistic and thought Britain had a great future.

He spoke of the need to offer Labour voters in the north of the country ‘somewhere to go’ politically and suggested the new party leader, whoever he may be, should go and attract voters in the north. He said he would go on supporting UKIP but would not be a back-seat driver. He would continue as an MEP and this week would be going to the USA as a tourist – “nothing more than that”.

He thanked everyone for their support and at the end of his speech he received a standing ovation from the audience.

Chairman Paul Oakden said: “Every few weeks there is a prediction that UKIP is going nowhere yet rumours have been regularly and consistently exaggerated. Let us remember what has happened this year. UKIP has grown steadily and inexorably this year, frightening Prime Minister David Cameron into promising a referendum, promising everyone we would not win. We won.”

He said that 15,405 ballot papers had been returned and that Paul Nuttall had received 9,622 votes, 62.6 percent of the result. Suzanne Evans had been runner up with 2,973 votes, 19.3%, and John Rees Evans came third with 2,775 votes, 18.1%.

On hearing the new leader had received such an overwhelming vote of confidence, the audience went wild, cheering and clapping and Nigel came on stage to congratulate Paul. The cheering went on for several minutes.

“What a wonderful reception!” was the new leader’s comment as the cheering died down.

He thanked everyone for the “well run, fair and good humoured” contest and noted that his victory was the “biggest mandate in the history of our party”. He promised to build a management team from all wings of the party and called for unity, saying: “To those who don’t want to unify and want to continue fighting the battles of the past, I will say ‘your time with UKIP has come to an end’.

“Today is the day that we start to put the UKIP jigsaw back together. It means practising what we preach, with all factions of the party coming together. Let bygones be bygones. The party has a duty to unite – those at the top of the party owe to the people who voted for Brexit. The country needs a strong UKIP more now than ever before.”

He said the party is “engaged over a political tug of war at the moment over the sort of Brexit we want. We want control over our borders and control over our finances, and we will hold the government’s feet to the fire to ensure that Brexit really does mean Brexit.”

He promised that under his leadership the party will ensure the country gets the Brexit it voted for on June 23 and then “we will put the ‘Great’ back into Britain”.

The new leader then outlined the policies he intends to push forward. “We will continue to call for a fair but firm immigration policy; we will reward aspiration and social mobility; we will champion education by ability not wealth; we will support the military to the hilt and we will also honour the military covenant. We will be committed to investing the NHS and slashing the foreign aid budget. We will continue to talk about the issues that other parties do not, we will say that FGM and forced marriages have no place in 21st century Britain.

“We will champion a fair devolution deal for Britain and we will promote the English. We fought the last election with a manifesto called ‘Believe in Britain’ and that is what the party under my leadership will do. I want to replace the Labour party and make UKIP the voice of patriotic people.” For this, Paul received a standing ovation.

He spoke fondly of Nigel Farage, whom he described as “political mentor for many years” and called for a round of applause for the outgoing leader.

He continued: “In 2015 we garnered 4million votes but only one seat in Parliament, but our greatest achievement, Nigel’s greatest achievement, was in 2013 when we forced David Cameron into promising a referendum he never wanted to give.

“We’ve been on a fantastic journey and I have been with you every step of the way. I have not just talked the talk, I have walked the walk. I am grateful and honoured that the UKIP members have placed their faith in me as leader. There is a lot to do, my friends, lets get out there and let’s get cracking.”

The standing ovation he received lasted several minutes.