Who Will Run For the UKIP Top Job?
12th month, 4th leader and 3rd key election after Brexit and how is UKIP doing? Pretty darn rubbish if I’m honest. But the future for Britain doesn’t have to remain gloomy – it can be purple! That is, of course, if the right man or woman takes us forward. But who actually wants to take on what Nigel Farage has claimed you’d have to be mad to do? Quite a few people actually!
Bill Etheridge MEP
Bill has been a member of the party since 2011 and has stood in local, police and crime commissioner, parliamentary and European elections, winning in the most recent local and European elections for UKIP. Bill was defence spokesman under Nuttall’s leadership and backed Nuttall in the last election. His policies include a burqa ban, the death penalty and toning down the anti-Islam rhetoric. Bill has said he will not stand against Farage.
Anne Marie Waters (AMW)
As an ex-Labour member, Anne has been a member of UKIP for last few years and has very quickly built up a reputation as the anti-Islam voice of UKIP. She is the director of Sharia Watch UK, an organisation that monitors the growth of fundamentalist Islam and this is a key concern for her in this leadership election. She has been accused of being far-right and extreme by others in the party, with Bill Etheridge even saying she should be kicked out of the party. She has stood for the party in local and Westminster elections, failing in all attempts and was blocked from even being on the ballot by Paul Nuttall in the 2017 election, with Paul saying her views were “way above and beyond party policy”.
David Coburn MEP
David announced his intention to stand in a rampage of tweets criticising others in the party and putting forward his freedom-loving vision of the party. He has been highly critical of the 2017 manifesto, referring to it as the “burqafesto” on several occasions. He is the leader of UKIP Scotland and has stood in Westminster and London Assembly elections for UKIP since 2010. He is openly gay and speaks 3 different languages. David has confirmed he will stand down if Farage enters the race.
Chris is UKIP’s ex-leader on Thanet Council, one of the most successful areas in the country for UKIP. He has said the party needs a new focus after Brexit, which he believes should be adult social care. Like many other candidates, Chris would not stand against Nigel Farage.
Ben is an ex-military business owner and has been a UKIP member since 2011. He founded a branch of the party, where he was the candidate and chairman at the last election. He has also served as a councillor and mayor in his town. He wants to bring UKIP back to its “Former Glory” and seeks to lower membership costs, empower the members and promote new talent within the party.
Peter Whittle AM
Peter was UKIP’s deputy under Nuttall and was behind the party’s integration agenda in the election, which has faced great criticism from many in the party. He is widely viewed as the most likely successor to Nuttall, assuming Farage decides not to stand. There has been speculation that Anne Marie Waters will be his deputy upon him standing, although this is unconfirmed at present. He stood for UKIP in Westminster, London Assembly and London Mayoral elections, winning a London Assembly seat in 2016 for the party – the first in 10 years!
Who else could stand?
Nigel Farage MEP
Nigel has been the leader of UKIP 3 times now, elected with a huge majority last time he stood. He is widely regarded of the face of the party and led us into the 2015 general election, UKIP’s most successful ever. He has faced criticism from some due to his alleged obsession with Brexit, with some worrying that he would not be able to take the party on post-Brexit. He is by far the most likely to win according to the bookies and will decide shortly whether he will stand.
John Rees-Evans (JRE)
John is the champion of direct democracy within UKIP and is leading the project to implement UKIP Direct. He came third last time, with just under 20% of the votes but was hugely popular in Young Independence, UKIP’s youth wing. John would not stand against Farage and has said that Farage should have full support to take over whenever he wishes from the new leader, whoever that may be. Kipper Central interviewed JRE last election about his vision for the party.
Suzanne has wanted the UKIP top job for some time now and was blocked from standing for it in 2016 when she was suspended. She ran in 2016, coming second with around 20% of the vote. She has said that she would like UKIP to move to centre ground to pick up new voters. Sadly, Evans suffered Breast Cancer earlier this year and astoundingly wrote the party’s manifesto while recovering from it. She had decided not to stand for leadership on these medical grounds.