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Monday, November 28, 2016

UK: Paul Nuttall elected UKIP leader in landslide victory

UKIP
The MEP for North West England and former deputy party leader saw off the competition to win 62.6 % of the vote

Paul Nuttall has been elected leader of the UK Independence Party, replacing Nigel Farage.

The 39-year-old Member of the European Parliament, who served as UKIP's deputy leader for six years, won 62.6% of support among party members.

He promised to "put the great back into Britain" and force the government to "give us a real Brexit".

Mr Nuttall defeated former deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans and ex-soldier John Rees-Evans.

It was UKIP's second leadership election this year, previous winner Diane James having quit after 18 days in the role. Mr Farage acted as interim leader while the second leadership race took place.

Elected after a period of turbulence for the party


The MEP for North West England and former deputy leader comfortably saw off the competition to win 62.6 % of the more than 15,000 members who voted.

2nd placed was former co-chair Suzanne Evans, who got 2,973 votes (19.3 %), with Welsh activist John Rees-Evans in 3rd place with 2,775 votes (18.1 %).

In his victory speech Nuttall said: "Only unity breeds success. People do not vote, join or donate to divided parties.

"So those within the party who want to come together and unite I say 'we have a great and successful future'.

"To those who do not want to unify and want to continue fighting the battles of the past, then I'm afraid your time in UKIP is coming to an end."

The contest was triggered after Diane James resigned as leader earlier this month, just 18 days into the job following her victory at the last race in September.

Nuttall was the clear favourite in the contest from the moment he declared his bid and positioned himself as the "unity" candidate hoping to smooth over fractious rows in the party.

He launched his campaign after MEP Steven Woolfe quit UKIP and dropped out of the race following an altercation with colleague Mike Hookem landed him in hospital.

The race also saw fellow MEP Bill Etheridge, London Assembly member Peter Whittle and Raheem Kassam, a former aide to Nigel Farage, put themselves forward only to withdraw later.

Nuttall now faces a fight to keep UKIP relevant in the aftermath of the EU referendum and amid dire financial circumstances after the party received less in donations than the BNP in the last reported period.

The central tenet of his plan is to win further votes from former Labour supporters after UKIP made major inroads in Labour heartlands at the last election.

Elsewhere, Mr Nuttall has said he would back the return of the death penalty for child killers if it were put to the country in a referendum.

"I would vote in favour of the return of the death penalty for people who kill children, people like Ian Brady, people like Ian Huntley, which is what the majority of British people want," he said earlier this month.

Sources: holyrood.com, BBC News, November 28, 2016

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