Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
28 November 2016

Paul Nuttall named Ukip’s new leader with pledge to win over “old Labour“ voters

He also urged the party to stick together. 

By Julia Rampen

Paul Nuttall is the new Ukip leader after the second contest in two months.

Ukip members cheered as it was announced that Nuttall, a historian from Liverpool, had won with 62.6 per cent of the vote.

Nuttall, who is seen as a possible unifier for a party riven by warring factions, said in his victory speech: “My call for unity has received the biggest mandate in the history of our party.” 

He urged the party to stay together in order to win donations and support: “The party has resembled a jigsaw that has been tipped onto the floor. Today is the day we start to put the Ukip jigsaw back together.”

If Ukip “ceases to be an electoral force”, Leave voters will end up with a “mealy-mouthed, backsliding” version of Brexit, he said. 

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. 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 weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

To those who did not want to work together, he said: “I’m afraid your time in this party is coming to an end.”

Nuttall, who comes from a working-class family and studied at a comprehensive school, confirmed Ukip’s drive to attack Labour’s support base. He told supporters the party had “ceased to speak the language” of its traditional voters and attacking the leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for not singing the national anthem (in fact, Corbyn sang it at a 2016 Remembrance Sunday event from which Ukip was notably absent). 

He said: “They have lost touch, they are more at home talking about the issues that swirl around the Islington dinner party than the issues that matter in working-class communities.”

There is already a “bank of people out there” who will never return to the established parties, he said. 

He named Peter Whittle, a former candidate in the leadership race, as his deputy, Paul Oakden as a party chairman, and Patrick O’Flynn as chief political adviser. 

Nuttall is a social hardliner, who has called for a referendum on bringing back the death penalty and reducing the legal time limit of abortion. 

He has eyed the leadership for some time, telling The New Statesman in January 2015 that he thought he would “lead Ukip well”. He pioneered the tactic of targeting local councils, rather than focusing all the party’s resources on Westminster. 

Speaking before him, Nigel Farage, the former leader, joked of 2016: “For those that think it’s an awful year then I’m afraid folks there’s more bad news to come.”

He painted Jeremy Corbyn as unpatriotic and said: “Old Labour has absolutely nowhere else to go other than Ukip.”

Jon Trickett, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator, reacted to the news saying: “You only need to know one thing about UKIP’s new leader, Paul Nuttall: he wants privatisation in the NHS.”

Nuttall said in 2014 that the “very existence of the NHS stifles competition”.