Nigel Farage today announced he would stand down as leader of Ukip after failing to win his target seat South Thanet.
He anointed Suzanne Evans as his preferred choice for interim leader, but she rejected the idea. So is she in line to take over – and who might she be up against?
Ms Evans surprised commentators with her assured performance in the election campaign.
She is a confident performer in the media and seems far less gaffe
prone or aggressive than some of her colleagues.
She didn’t win a seat but being elected has not been a precondition of
leading the Ukip party so far. Indeed Ms Evans failed to win a seat in
the European election and lost her spot as a councillor last year
before becoming Deputy Chairman.
Ukip would also like to be able to announce that they are one of the
more progressive parties in the country putting forward a woman to
As Mark Reckless’ loss in Rochester and Strood has shown, Mr Carswell
has taken a bit big political risk in defecting to Ukip but his
decision has left him as the party’s single MP in Westminster which
must surely leave him with some claim to a leadership bid.
Rumours have abounded that there is a gulf between Mr Carswell and Mr
Farage and the party leadership, with the former rarely appearing at
official Ukip events.
He also failed to publicly back Mr Farage on one of his most
controversial policies: barring HIV positive foreigners from
accessing the NHS.
He used his victory speech to outline what he thought the key focus of
Ukip’s campaign should be: voter reform to get better representation
for the votes they received.
The most salt of the earth Ukip candidate, Mr Nuttall is a comp boy
from a working class family in the dockyard town of Bootle near
Liverpool. He’s everything that Nigel Farage was not.
He also wants the top job and could be hard to manage in any other
role. Earlier this year he told the New Statesman that he wouldn’t be
any one else’s deputy.
He has also served as Mr Farage’s deputy for the last five years.
As Ukip re-group after the dissapointment of one seat in the Commons
he may not have a soft enough touch to bring all the party’s supporters together.
He supports reintroducing the death penalty for child murderers,
serial killers and those who murder police officers and wants to toughen
up abortion law.
Mr Farage has been the face of Ukip for so long that the rest of the party
has often been accused of being a rag tag bunch following a one man
The former Ukip leader is cowed today. Losing in South Thanet
was expected early in the night but must have hurt after a long
campaign and all those column inches dedicated to him.
He has stepped down for the summer, handing in the reigns temporarily
to Suzanne Evans but he has not said he is gone for good.
He’s come back before (he was leader between 2006-2009 before stepping
down) and he could do it again.