Thursday

17th Aug 2017

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

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."

Farage resigns: 'I want my life back'

The prominent vote Leave campaigner and anti-EU MEP already resigned Ukip top job three times before. This time it is final, he said.

UKIP MEP feeling well after punch and collapse

Steven Woolfe, a Ukip MEP, was rushed to hospital after collapsing in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Thursday, reportedly after a fight with a group colleague.

Ukip fights for its life

A fist-fight between Ukip MEPs in the European Parliament on Thursday sent a frontrunner for the party’s leadership to hospital and laid bare a party in shambles.

Opinion

Setting course for strong and focused EU

From strengthening the internal market to completing the energy union, the prime ministers of Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland set out their vision for the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  2. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  3. Russian power most feared in Europe
  4. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  5. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  6. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns
  7. Danish police to investigate misuse of EU fishing rules
  8. German constitutional court questions ECB's €2tn spending

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides