With Steven Woolfe out and more candidates throwing their hats into the ring, Guido brings you an update on the UKIP leadership race:
Suzanne Evans: Quietly gathering signatures for her nomination. Her suspension has lapsed, she should be a member in good standing for 28 days (we think) and thus eligible. Bookies’ favourite. Will her closeness to the Farage-hating Carswell faction cost her with the grassroots?
Paul Nuttall: Other candidates fear Nuttall will win if he stands. This Telegraph article sounds like he wants it. Though there is no noticeable effort to gather signatures, he didn’t want to run last time and will be asking himself if it’s really worth it. Dithering or not bothering at all?
Raheem Kassam: Loudly gathering the necessary signatures. Has been campaigning hard online and thinks he has enough signatures to submit the paperwork on Sunday. If Nuttall doesn’t run there is a possibility Raheem could actually do it. His price to win is tighter than Trump’s!
Peter Whittle: UKIP’s London mayoral candidate is popular in the capital. While campaigning in Witney he appeared on one of Kassam’s campaign videos and even said his rival’s slogan: “Make UKIP Great Again”, though he tells Guido he is not on Team Raheem. Also quietly gathering signatures.
Bill Etheridge: Said he’d stand unless there was somebody he could back 100%. Accused of cheating by his fiancee. Has been round the rubber chicken circuit.
David Kurten: Lower profile, tried to be nominated as UKIP’s mayoral candidate with a false London address. When Breitbart asked him how he responded to allegations of racism in UKIP he replied: “UKIP isn’t racist, I love white people!”
Suzanne, Nuttall and Raheem are the frontrunners…
Above shows the latest odds from the bookies courtesy of Betdata.io. In a situation that is very fluid the betting markets are probably the best place to gain insight into the candidate’s support – real money rather than spin. Woolfe pulling out is good for Kassam, his chances have since shot up, with a lot of his Faragist support going to Raheem. He’s running a characteristically energetic campaign online.
Suzanne Evans is the bookies’ favourite and the truth of that position is bolstered by YouGov polling:
This situation will change rapidly. The YouGov polling above was done before Woolfe had quit and Kassam had declared. It is still unclear if Nuttall is definitely running. Suzanne has not exactly been campaigning hard having only had it confirmed yesterday by the UKIP NEC that she could be a candidate. Nominations close on Halloween, the full horror show finishes on November 28…
UKIP’s NEC has ditched the requirement for leadership candidates to have been members for two years, reducing the minimum membership period to 28 days. Candidates will now need 75 signatures to put their name forward, an increase of 25. What does this all mean? Raheem Kassam and Suzanne Evans WILL be eligible to stand…
The timetable is as follows:
“Applications will close at 12pm GMT (noon) on Monday October 31st 2016. Ballots will be sent to members shortly after 11th November and we will be announcing who will be our new Leader on Monday 28th November.”
Nuttall and Kassam are the frontrunners in online polls…
After the surprise resignation of new UKIP leader Diane James, Guido brings you the latest runners and riders in UKIP’s leadership battle (odds from Betfair):
Paul Nuttall – Evens
Forever in Farage’s shadow, Nuttall has been deputy leader of UKIP for the last six years. His Liverpudlian roots could appeal to the working class north in a way that Evans or Kassam could only ever dream. The favourite after the fracas despite not yet confirming that he is standing…
Steven Woolfe – 2/1
The front runner in the last leadership contest until he forgot to submit his papers on time. Woolfe seemed to take the latest UKIP fight literally when he was in an alleged punch up with fellow MEP Mike Hookem. No longer the favourite post fracas and leaking of his talks with the Conservative Party.
Suzanne Evans – 4/1
Suzanne Evans was a Conservative Party councillor who defected to UKIP in 2013. Highly praised for writing UKIP’s 2015 manifesto, she was later suspended from the party for criticising a fellow candidate. Close to Carswell. Evans’s suspension has lapsed just in time for the latest contest.
Raheem Kassam – 15/1
Nigel Farage’s former chief of staff and current London editor of Breitbart, Kassam has already launched his online campaign to be leader with the slogan “Make UKIP great again” but his odds have been widening in the last few days. Most observers think he’s really running for the deputy-leader spot. The former Conservative Party activist is making a big thing of attacking “Blue Kippers”. Like Nigel he’s very much a Marmite character.
Bill Etheridge – 27/1
MEP for the West Midlands and another former Conservative Party member. In the last leadership election he was accused of cheating by his fiancee when she found a half empty packet of Viagra in his car. Lad.
UKIP’s NEC is meeting this coming Monday to determine rules and timeframe…
UPDATE: Guido is told that Peter Whittle AM, UKIP’s former candidate for London mayor is also in the running (currently 27/1). A cultured fellow, if Guido’s memory serves him right he too is also a former Conservative Party member.
Nigel Farage’s former top aide Raheem Kassam has entered the race for UKIP leader, Guido can reveal. A website called MakeUKIPGreatAgain.com has been set up by Kassam’s campaign team, and he tells Guido:
“I, like ordinary UKIP members, am so tired of the chicanery at the top of this party. There is so much corruption. There is so much duplicity. There are so many people shaking hands with one another and then knifing them in private. It has to stop.
I’m clear about what I stand for: a strong, united UKIP, free of the Tory splitters. I want this party to continue to be the driving force behind Brexit. I want us to address the deep cultural and social divides in this country. I want us to champion causes like Justice for Marine A and tackle the scourge of Islamism in our schools, prisons, and communities. I want us to become the real opposition and put this feckless Labour Party to bed.
UKIP has a positive future in a sovereign Britain, but it won’t happen unless someone with some courage and willpower does something about the internal fractures. I want to Make UKIP Great Again.”
Raheem, a recently renewed UKIP member as of two months ago, says he is running for leader but is open to offers to be a credible candidate’s deputy too. Can Trump cope without him?
Donald Trump has hired pugnacious Breitbart chief Steve Bannon as his new campaign CEO. Bannon was instrumental in founding Breitbart London, he’s a former officer in the US navy who loved British writers like James Delingpole and had dreams of a Tea Party-style anti-establishment movement in the UK. He is an admirer of UKIP though he wishes they didn’t keep selling out and were a bit more right-wing. He signed up both Farage as a columnist and Raheem Kassam (later Nigel’s chief aide) as his London editor. Bannon is a no-nonsense, tough operator who says “we call ourselves the Fight Club. You don’t come to us for warm and fuzzy”. Raheem in the White House?