The final shortlist for who will replace Nigel Farage has been unveiled – and the frontrunner Steven Woolfe has been excluded. Ukip’s NEC said Woolfe was left off the list after being deemed ‘ineligible as a result of a late submission’, having missed the party’s nomination deadline by seventeen minutes. It’s a decision which is sure to cause ruptures within the party. So who are the candidates who have made it on to the list?
Diane James is the new favourite to replace Nigel Farage after Steven Woolfe was kept off the ballot paper. The party’s justice and home affairs spokeswoman has capitalised on the various blunders which afflicted Woolfe to find her bookies’ odds on replacing Farage slashed. And now that Woolfe is out of the running, James is 1/3 favourite to win the race. She wants Ukip to professionalise and target seats in Westminster – a confident strategy which is exactly what the party needs to do. Despite possibly being the one to broaden Ukip’s party, she is no stranger to gaffes: having singled out Romanians for committing crime during the Eastleigh by-election and also spelling out her fondness for Vladimir Putin as a ‘very nationalist leader’.
If the frontrunner Diane James is the ‘change’ candidate hoping to broaden Ukip’s appeal, Lisa Duffy is the one promising business as usual. Duffy has already set out a hardline pledge in the form of a ban on Muslim schools – a policy that may go down well with some Ukip voters but is less likely to win them voters put off by some of the rhetoric to emerge from the party in the past. Duffy, a councillor in Cambridge, also promises a tough stance on criminals – saying short sentences are no good – and saying foreigners using the NHS was a priority to be tackled.
Bill Etheridge is another candidate in the same vein as Duffy. The Ukip MEP wants to charge prisoners £40,000-a-year whilst they’re behind bars, ban Kosher and Halal slaughter of animals and also hold a referendum on the death penalty. His awful slogan – ‘Billieve in Bill’ – gives Steven Woolfe a run for its money in the cheesiness stakes. But despite his bold campaign pledges, Etheridge has so far struggled to raise cash, with backers having only stumped up £8 in an ominous sign for his leadership bid.
Liz Jones is best known for telling a fellow radio show guest to ‘shut up‘. But for someone so keen to tell other people to keep it down, relatively little is known about what the Ukip NEC member actually stands for herself. Jones is a familiar face in Ukip circles in London but she’s less well-known outside of the capital – potentially making it harder for her to broaden the party’s appeal in the north. Nonetheless, she has pledged to make education a key focus area in her leadership campaign and has also talked up the importance of trade as a campaign priority. Jones lists her heroes as Alan Turing, Galileo, William Tyndale, Richard Dawkins, Salman Taseer and Malala Yousafzai.
Philip Broughton is the final name on the list and has made it clear he wants Ukip to be about more than just Brexit. Broughton, who ran in the 2015 election for a seat in Hartlepool, says his focus is on broadening the party’s message, to include more policies on areas like foreign policy, foreign aid, the NHS and the economy. Away from politics, Broughton works in Tesco and is also a semi-professional wrestler.