Rich’s Monday Morning View

ukip-grate

Nuttall Running

He’ll be the favourite…

Farage Slams Evans For “Far Right” Attack

After Suzanne called Raheem “far right”, Nigel tells Peston: “I won’t be voting for her, not after that”. It’s war on UKIP Super Sunday…

Suzanne Announces Leadership Bid

As expected Suzanne Evans is in the race. She says Raheem Kassam is on the “far right” and says UKIP don’t need Arron Banks’ money. Punchy…

Nuttall set to declare later this morning…

Super Sunday: UKIP Leadership Declarations Coming

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Stand by for UKIP leadership contenders to make their minds up by Sunday. There are op-eds being lined up in the weekend papers, before Suzanne Evans and Paul Nuttall tour the Sunday morning politics programmes. Suzanne has been gathering signatures so she looks set to announce. All eyes on Nuttall, who some prominent Kippers think has plucked up the courage to run. Farage is also appearing on Peston. Raheem Kassam will be spending the weekend with the grassroots, trying to close the gap on the others who’ve done years on the rubber chicken circuit. We’ll have a better idea of who the next leader will be in 72 hours time…

UKIP Leadership State of Play

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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…

Suzanne Evans Bookies’ New Front Runner

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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:

yougov-ukip-poll

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…

Steven Woolfe Quits UKIP

Steven Woolfe has resigned from UKIP with immediate effect.

“Six years ago, I joined Ukip. Since then, I have campaigned with all my energy, time and determination to champion the party’s core beliefs and values. 
 
“I have been proud to stand in local, general, PCC and London assembly elections – and of course to be elected as a North West MEP. 
 
“I have been proud to be a part of the team led by Nigel Farage, one of Britain’s greatest ever politicians. He brought me into the party and helped us win the referendum – a moment I will always treasure. Without Nigel, the donors, the team members and the activists, the UK would not be free today.
 
“It was because of the support from party members that I put my name forward to lead the party in the Summer, and again two weeks ago following Diane’s resignation. However, I could not have foreseen the events that would follow. 
 
“The events at the meeting in Strasbourg led to me later being treated by doctors for two seizures, partial paralysis and loss of feeling in my face and body.  
 
“I would like to thank all of the medical staff in Strasbourg for their impressive and swift treatment. I owe them my life. I would also like to thank my family and friends for their love and support – and also all of the people in politics who have sent me their best wishes. 
 
“Since then, I have spent some time considering my personal and political future.
 
“It is with deep sorrow and regret that I am aborting my leadership campaign and announcing my resignation from Ukip with immediate effect.
 
“I believe that a strong Ukip would hold this government’s feet to the fire and make sure it delivers a clean Brexit. However, I have come to the conclusion that Ukip is ungovernable without Nigel Farage leading it and the referendum cause to unite it.
 
“The way I was treated by members of my own party during the Summer’s leadership campaign and the events that have led up to today have all contributed to me coming to this conclusion. The party is riddled with infighting, proxy wars between rival camps and is run by an NEC that is not fit for purpose.
 
“Once my recovery is complete, it is my intention to sit as an independent MEP in the European Parliament. 
 
“I will continue to represent my constituents in the European Parliament until the UK’s exit from the EU in 2019. I will champion the values I hold dear – those of freedom, democracy and an independent United Kingdom.
 
“With regards to the highly regrettable events in Strasbourg, I will reiterate my position that I received a blow from Mr Hookem that knocked me back into the meeting room and caused my subsequent injuries. Contrary to reports, I have made a police complaint.
 
“I am now seeking legal advice in respect of the investigations and will not be commenting further on the matter until the completion of those investigations.”

Developing…

UKIP NEC Rules Kassam and Evans Can Run

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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

UKIP Consider Censuring Farage Over Trump Support

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Anti-Faragist elements in UKIP are seeking to censure their leader over his support for Donald Trump. The party’s beleaguered NEC is meeting today to discuss the punishment for Steven Woolfe and Mike Hookem, as well as the rules on whether Woolfe, Raheem Kassam and Suzanne Evans are allowed to stand in the leadership election. If Woolfe receives any sort of suspension he will theoretically lose his status as a member “in good standing”, leaving him ineligible. Intriguingly there are also moves afoot to issue some sort of punishment against Farage for his trips to the States to appear on stage with The Donald. Unlikely to succeed but a measure of how factional the UKIP NEC has become… 

UKIP Leader Runners & Riders

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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.

Hookem: Case For the Defence

In scenes reminiscent of the OJ trial, Mike Hookem has shown the world his hands as he tries to prove his innocence over the Steven Woolfe bust up. He asks: “Can you see any bruising or abrasions?” The case for the defence in UKIP’s internal inquiry…

Mike Hookem: I Didn’t Right Hook Him!

“There was no punches thrown, there was no face slapping, there was no digs, there was nothing… a bit of a scuffle”

Woolfe claims Hookem “landed a blow“. Who’s telling the truth?

UPDATE: Hookem tells Sky News that Woolfe asked him to take it outside “mano y mano” and that Woolfe “came at me”. He insists “there was no punches thrown”, just “girl on girl” “handbags at dawn”

Steven Woolfe Speaks

“The CT scan has shown that there is no blood clot in the brain. At the moment I am feeling brighter, happier and smiling as ever. As a precaution I am being kept in overnight awaiting secondary tests to make sure everything is fine. I am sitting up and said to be looking well. The only consequence at the moment is a bit of numbness on the left hand side of my face.”

Good news.

Neil Hamilton: Woolfe “Picked a Fight”

UKIP’s party chairman is facing calls from prominent Kippers to suspend Neil Hamilton after he told the BBC Steven Woolfe had “picked a fight and came off worse”. Hamilton handled the issue with his customary charm as Woolfe’s condition remained unknown. It has gone down very badly with the party hierarchy.

PICTURE: Steven Woolfe Altercation

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Via ITV

UPDATE: ITV release a second picture of Woolfe being treated by paramedics:

woolfe2

UPDATE: UKIP MEP Nathan Gill says Woolfe is “conscious and recovering”.

Hookem Unavailable for Comment

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Plain speaking Mike Hookem, UKIP’s defence spokesman who served 9 years in the Royal Engineers, latterly as a Commando Engineer, is unavailable for comment. Sources say he was very angry about reports that Steven Woolfe was on the verge of joining the Tories last week.  The MEP for Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire’s staff say they can’t get hold of him either…

Steven Woolfe Collapses in European Parliament

According to reports Steven Woolfe has collapsed in the European Parliament. ITV say he is being tended to by medics. Everyone at Guido wishes him a speedy recovery.

UPDATE: UKIP say he has been taken to hospital.

UPDATE II: According to Nigel Farage, Woolfe was involved in an “altercation” and his condition is “serious“. There are reports he was punched by a UKIP colleague.

UPDATE III: Sky News and the Telegraph report Woolfe has “bleeding on the brain”.

Kassam Running For UKIP Leader

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?

Woolfe Considered Defecting to Tories

Guido understands Steven Woolfe seriously considered defecting to the Tories this weekend, before it emerged Diane James was standing down. Woolfe met with several top Tories over the last few weeks and was close to agreeing to join the party. It is understood that David Davis and Patrick McLoughlin were involved in trying to woo him over.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says….

“The UKIP vote is going to the Tories. That’s the story of the first week of the campaign.”

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