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6 October 2016

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

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Steven Woolfe

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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.