Ukip has announced its candidate for the 2016 London Mayor elections – and it’s a surprise. Peter Whittle, the party’s Culture Spokesman, is the candidate, not the favourite, Suzanne Evans.
This isn’t as much of a surprise to Coffee House readers as it might be to others. In August we reported rumblings that Nigel Farage might be trying to stitch up the race to exclude Evans, who he regards as a threat (she was Ukip leader for a few days in between him resigning and un-resigning). The party’s London MEP Gerard Batten also told Coffee House that the process was ‘undemocratic’ and that he wasn’t getting involved in it.
Whittle is well-liked in the party, but he does not have the profile that Evans does. Of course, this is just fighting to come fifth in the overall race, but the main value of the Mayoral race for Ukip is that it raises the party’s profile for the London Assembly elections at the same time. So selecting a good candidate is still important.