Sunday

11th Dec 2016

Diane James, new Ukip leader in Farage's shadow

  • Nigel Farage (l) said he will "advise" Ukip's new leader Diane James (r) (Photo: Reuters)

The UK Independence Party (Ukip) has elected Diane James as its new leader on Friday (16 September).

James, a 56-year old member of the European Parliament, won 47 percent of party members votes against four other candidates.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

She succeeds Nigel Farage, who quit as party leader just after the EU referendum in June and backed her for leadership.

As leader of the UK's most eurosceptic party, James' challenge will be influencing the British government's negotiations for its exit from the EU.

"The threats to the referendum outcome are increasing by the day," she warned party members during her acceptance speech in Bournemouth.

She said that with the Brexit vote, Ukip has "only just won a heat in a 28-member state Olympic competition to leave the European Union".

"Until we get a signature, we're still in, they still tell us what to do," she added, referring to the EU.

Ukip, James said, wants a "100% European Union exit."

"Yes to a sovereign independent UK," she said. "Yes to a UK free to make trade deals with whoever and whenever we want and yes to an immigration policy that allows entry regardless of origin to those with the skills and the expertise and the social values that this country wants."

Another challenge for James will be to get more MPs into the British parliament. In the 2015 general election, Ukip was the third-ranking party in terms of votes but, with the first-past-the post system, it got only one MP elected.

With a Labour party divided over its future direction, James expressed her ambition to make Ukip the second party in the country.

Speaking directly to prime minister Theresa May in her speech, she said: "If you're watching TV this afternoon, you'll be watching the opposition party in waiting."

In her leadership, James will have to take account of Farage, the party's co-founder and long time leader.

In a speech before James' election, he said he would "advise" the new leader and remain himself Ukip's leader in the European Parliament.

“I hope to be engaged in political life without leading a political party,” he said, adding that he would be less constrained. "From now on I’m really going to speak my mind.”

He said he would tour Europe to “try and help independence and democracy movements”.

But in another speech highlighting internal tensions in the party, outgoing deputy leader Paul Nuttall said that “Ukip has not been a happy camp for over a year,” and spoke of "a cancer in the heart of the party".

“The new leader will not benefit in any shape or form if any of us attempt to back-seat drive," he said, in a warning to Farage. "Standing down must mean standing down."

Wilders convicted for insulting Moroccans

Dutch court says far right politician should not have made his statements calling for "fewer Moroccans" in 2014. However, he will not receive any jail sentence or fine.

News in Brief

  1. Council of Europe critical of Turkey emergency laws
  2. Italian opposition presses for anti-euro referendum
  3. Danish MP wants warning shots fired to deter migrants
  4. Defected Turkish officers to remain in Greece
  5. Most child asylum seekers are adults, says Denmark
  6. No school for children of 'illegal' migrants, says Le Pen
  7. Ombudsman slams EU Commission on tobacco lobbying
  8. McDonald's moves fiscal HQ to UK following tax probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Use Bioenergy Coming From Forests in a Sustainable Way?
  2. Counter BalanceReport Reveals Corrupt but Legal Practices in Development Finance
  3. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  4. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  5. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  6. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  7. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  9. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  10. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  11. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  12. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First