New Times,
New Thinking.

Ukip leadership race: Meet the candidates hoping to replace Diane James as leader

Steven Woolfe and Raheem Kassam have thrown their hats into the ring. 

By Julia Rampen

The Ukip leader Diane James took the political world by surprise when she resigned after just 18 days in the job.

With that kind of turnover, you might expect other senior Ukip figures to be concerned it is a poisoned chalice.

But instead, they are lining up to take over. Here is who has thrown their hat down so far:

Nigel Farage (again)

Nigel Farage is the charismatic leader most associated with Ukip. He resigned after the Brexit vote, but then he also resigned in 2015, before un-resigning three days later. James’s resignation makes him the de facto leader again, although he has said he will only serve as an interim leader

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • 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 Progressive Media Investments 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.

Steven Woolfe

Steven Woolfe, the mixed-race, northern, working-class Ukip spokesman on immigration, was viewed by some in the party as the perfect candidate to turn Labour’s heartlands purple. But then he missed the deadline to apply for the leadership race

Woolfe, an ally of Farage, is viewed by many as the frontrunner, but if he is to win he must overcome the opposition of Ukip’s only MP, Douglas Carswell. But on Thursday, an “altercation” at a Ukip MEP meeting saw Woolfe rushed to hospital.

Raheem Kassam

Raheem Kassam is the editor-in-chief of Breitbart London, the UK branch of an outspoken news website popular with the alt right. He is a former Farage aide, and although he has attacked Carswell before, he has declared his hope of running “a clean campaign” without back-biting or negative briefings. 

Lisa Duffy (maybe)

Lisa Duffy is a councillor for Ramsey and was the runner up to James in the last leadership contest, where she pitched herself as the “law and order” candidate but also urged the party to woo voters with a “softer message”. She told the BBC she felt the party had no leadership after James took over, and later confirmed she was thinking of running again.  

Content from our partners
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce
How to reform the apprenticeship levy