Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
8 May 2015

Who will replace Nigel Farage as Ukip leader?

Now that Farage is standing down, who comes next?

By Tim Wigmore

Nigel Farage is no more as Ukip leader – well, for now, anyway. After losing in Thanet South, Farage has said that he is standing down as leader, though he did not rule out standing in the leadership election in September. So who could replace him?

Suzanne Evans

Farage’s preferred option – he let her enjoy the limelight at Ukip’s manifesto launch last month, and, after his resignation, immediately recommended her as temporary leader of the party. Evans enjoyed a reasonable election, winning 14.4 per cent in Shrewsbury & Atcham, never considered a Ukip target, and is highly-valued for her diligence and calm, unthreatening manner. Farage has also often stated that he thinks Ukip’s next leader will be a woman. Given his huge power within the party that means Evans, a former journalist who has only been in Ukip for two years after defecting from the Conservatives, is the person to beat.

Paul Nuttall

Comprehensive-educated and from a working-class family of Labour supporters in Bootle, a dockyard town next to Liverpool, in many ways Nuttall is the antithesis of Farage. His election as leader would symbolise a party committed to overturning Labour in the north: Nuttall is credited as the architect of their ‘northern strategy’. And he wants the job, too, telling me that he “wouldn’t be anyone else’s deputy” earlier this year. No one has stronger internal credentials that Nuttall: though just 38, he has served as Farage’s deputy for five years.

But whether Nuttall would be able to maintain Ukip’s fragile coalition is a different matter. He supports reintroducing the death penalty for child murderers, serial killers and those who murder police officers and, as a devout Catholic, advocates limiting abortion to the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. Serving under him might be rather difficult for Douglas Carswell to reconcile with his classical liberalism – perhaps why Carswell is not ruling out making a bid for leader…

Douglas Carswell

Ukip’s sole MP, Carswell did not rule out a possible bid for leader after his re-election in Clacton. Articulate, engaging and well-respected by the media, Carswell’s classically liberal views might not be the best fit with a party that now regards the north as its most fertile source of votes. Having defected from the Conservatives under a year ago, he also risks being depicted as a carpetbagger if he ran for the leadership. Still, he was Ukip’s only winner on election night.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Nigel Farage

If he wants to, Ukip will go back to the future again (Farage was previously leader from 2006 to 2009 until standing down for a year). Farage pointedly said that – after  couple of months off (he has not had a two-week holiday since 1993) – he could return as leader in September. He may decide he prefers the good life instead, but that Farage entertained the possibility in his moment of defeat suggests a man who may reign as Ukip leader for a while yet.

Topics in this article :