Sunday, 23 October 2016

Paul Nuttall and Suzanne Evans join leadership contest

Paul Nuttall and Suzanne Evans have thrown their hats into the ring for the re-run of the leadership election following Diane Evans' resignation after just 18 days.

Evans was barred from the previous leadership election as she was serving a suspension following her conduct in the London Assembly election campaign. It is very much to her credit that she stuck with UKIP despite what she and others (rightly or wrongly) felt was unfair treatment.

Nuttall pulled out of the previous leadership election and the decision was in no small part because of threats and abuse from far left activists. As a working class, old Labour northerner Nutall is seen as a huge threat to Labour and the Corbynists in particular.

London Assembly member Peter Whittle was an unexpected addition to the leadership race when he announced his candidacy a little under a fortnight ago. Whittle is one of the most senior openly gay politicians in the country (UKIP MEP for Scotland, David Coburn, is another) and was the only gay candidate for London Mayor.

West Midlands MEP, Bill Etheridge, is the only candidate from the previous contest to put himself forward again. He came third behind Diane James and Lisa Duffy and ahead of Phillip Broughton and Liz Jones.

The final declared candidate so far is the London editor of the hard right American political website, Breitbart, Raheem Kassam. Kassam was ineligible under the rules of the previous contest as he hadn't been a member for long enough but qualifies now the criteria have been relaxed.