UKIP expected to unveil Nigel Farage as its new leader (and sure enough it does) - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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UKIP expected to unveil Nigel Farage as its new leader (and sure enough it does)

Friday, 5 November 2010
Nigel Farage MEPThe UK Independence Party is set to reveal its new party leader today and it is expected that Nigel Farage, a founding member of the party and its current leader in Europe, will resume the post he gave up in 2009 to contest the UK general election.

The outspoken MEP is undoubtedly UKIP’s frontman and leader in all but official title, but he does face competition for the party leadership, in the form of MEP colleague David Campbell Bannerman, economist Tim Congdon and Winston McKenzie, an ex-boxer who has been a member of three British political parties and once auditioned (unsuccessfully) for the X-Factor.

The UKIP election was triggered after (Lord) Malcolm Pearson stood down after less than one year as leader explaining that he is "not much good at party politics". (Mind you he wasn’t much good as the party’s spokesman when appearing in the media – in a particularly revealing appearance on the BBC’s Campaign Show Pearson appeared to struggle to remember points from the party’s manifesto then at the end remarked “I didn't come on to talk about this sort of thing.” Farage, as we all know, is a much better public speaker and knows a few soundbites for the cameras...)

Lord Pearson was elected leader in November 2009, after Farage stepped down to concentrate on contesting the Buckingham parliamentary seat held by the speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow. That attempt failed but was made more dramatic by the light aircraft crash which Mr Farage survived on polling day.

The result is expected to be announced later today, but quite honestly any result other than the re-election of Nigel Farage would come as a surprise.

UPDATE (15.15): Nigel Farage has indeed been re-elected as leader of the UK Independence Party. The MEP won just over 6,000 votes representing 60.5% of the overall vote while Tim Congdon came in second place with a respectable 20.2%. David Campbell Bannerman came in third with 14% and Winston McKenzie came home in last place with just 5.3% of the vote.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Farage immediately launched into an attack on Prime Minister David Cameron and said UKIP was the only party that would offer a referendum on the European Union's Lisbon Treaty. He said: "His international policy for the United Kingdom is simple - it is surrender, surrender, surrender," and that the "only party prepared to talk about these issues openly, the only party prepared to put these great questions about who governs Britain to a referendum is now UKIP". Watch more of Farage's acceptance speech.

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