Who's Trying to Replace Nigel Farage as Ukip Leader?
Only one of them has publicly praised Hitler!
Following the vote for Brexit, Nigel Farage, swiftly stood down as leader of Ukip because he "wanted his life back". Farage crashed the country and walked away. It was a sort of political hit and run, live-streamed on the BBC News at six.
Ukip were long-dismissed as a protest party. And yet, they succeeded in their single aim. So what happens when your life's work is complete? When your sole campaign is won? When your leader, a man who embodies your party's politics so much that he's basically turned purple, steps down?
With Brexit negotiations in full swing, Ukippers aren't going to pipe down any time soon. They're going to want their voices heard louder than before. This is their magic moment and they must fill the Farage-shaped hole in the party's heart.
Thing is, they're currently a little rudderless. Their leadership contest, so far, has been somewhat shambolic; Nigel Farage himself described it as a "farce" being overseen by "total amateurs".
Today, Steven Woolfe, the favourite to win, was expelled from the race. According to Ukip, this is because he missed the deadline to submit his application (he was 17 minutes late) so was not eligible. Ukip supporters aren't happy about this: Woolfe was one of Farage's guys. He's been the MEP for the North of England since 2014. However, this isn't the first time Woolfe has come a cropper. In 2012, in a possible breach of election law, he "forgot" about a drink-driving conviction he had from 2002, when he was handed a nine-month ban and a £350 fine for being caught "drunk in charge of a scooter".
With Woolfe out of the way, here's a look at the Ukip candidates trying to fill Farage's loafers:
(Picture via @BillDudleyNorth)
BILL ETHERIDGE MEP
Where are they from? Wolverhampton. The area is a real Labour and Tory mix. Enoch Powell was the MP for Wolverhampton South West from 1950-1974.
Who is he? A very right-wing Eurosceptic who used to be a Tory and wants to bring back the death penalty.
Highest office held: MEP.
What are his politics like? Worrying. He wants to charge prisoners £40,000 a year during their jail sentences. He also wants to lock those in prison in their cells for the first six months of their sentence and deny them any visitors in that period.
Any embarrassing Ukip-y moments that they will struggle to live down? He was forced to step down when running to be a Conservative councillor because he posed with a golliwog doll on Facebook as part of a campaign against political correctness.
Key quote: "Look back to the most magnetic and forceful public speaker possibly in history. When Hitler gave speeches, and many of the famous ones were at rallies, at the start he walks, back and forth, looked at people – there was a silence, he waited minutes just looking out at people, fixing them with his gaze." – Speech to Ukip youth wing in 2014.
Will he win? Let's hope not.
Summary in a few words: Look, let's not take that Hitler quotes out of context, alright?
DIANE JAMES MEP
Where are they from? Rochester. She bucks the trend here by not being a northerner.
Who are they? She's an MEP who, with Woolfe out of the picture, is the favourite to win. On Tuesday night she jumped to the top of the bookies' odds.
Highest office held: She's been MEP for the South East of England since 2014, came pretty close to becoming an MP in the 2013 Eastleigh by-election and took over as Ukip's Deputy Chairman earlier this year.
What are their politics like? Pure, unadulterated purple. Diane is Ukip's spokesperson on Justice and Home Affairs. She wants to make Ukip legit once and for all by winning more seats in Westminster. It's difficult to find her personal views; she seems to toe the party line, being "tough on crime" and "immigration", as well as advocating proportional representation. She too is critical of "Muslim only free schools" and blames Theresa May for pretty much everything.
Any embarrassing Ukip-y moments that they will struggle to live down?: That time she praised Vladimir Putin for his nationalism and leadership skills.
Notable quote: " I admire him [Vladimir Putin] from the point of view that he's standing up for his country... He's very nationalist.."
Will they win? Very likely.
Summary in a few words: Ukip's Theresa May; a very safe right-wing bet.
JONATHAN ARNOTT MEP
Age: 35; born in 1981, he's narrowly a member of Generation X.
Where are they from? He grew up in Sheffield.
Who are they? It seems he's something of a prodigy who took his GCSEs and A-Levels three years early, aged 15, before graduating from the University of Sheffield with a Masters' degree in Maths before most of us had emerged from the primordial ooze of our parents' houses.
Highest office held: He's been the MEP for the North East of England since 2014.
What are their politics like? Moderate mauve. Reading his blog posts doesn't shed much light on his thinking. It seems he's centre-right in a fairly moderate way. Talks a lot about being " tough on crime" but doesn't specify how. Also seems to really, really love the free market.
Any embarrassing Ukip-y moments that they will struggle to live down? Not really. Closest is perhaps when he called Nigel Farage the "greatest orator of our time".
Quote of note: "On a really personal level I'm sick of the number of people committing horrific crimes against animals and escaping jail. Those who torture defenceless animals to death (just how depraved do you have to be to video yourself doing something like that?) should be jailed."
Will they win? A bit of an outsider, but if his school days are anything to go by he's a stalking horse.
Summary in a few words: Animal loving maths genius seeks high profile political job. Enjoys playing chess, will definitely beat you.
Where are they from? Ramsey, a very Tory area of Cambridgeshire.
Who are they? A Ukip councillor who describes herself as "passionate", "respected" and "driven" on her Twitter bio.
Highest office held: Local councillor or Chair of Ramsey Christmas Lights?
What are her politics like? Plum. Ukip to her core. She doesn't seem to have any clear policies, other than the closure of "British Islamic faith schools" and the usual Ukip stuff about scaling back immigration.
Any embarrassing Ukip-y moments that they will struggle to live down? Not yet.
Will they win? Unlike Woolfe, she's the anti-Farage candidate with support from MEP Patrick O-Flynn and the controversial Suzanne Evans. She has been labelled a "Trojan horse" candidate for Evans who can't run herself.
Summary in a few words: Who needs policies?
Elizabeth Jones talks about social media
Where are they from? London – Lambeth, to be precise. One of the places in the country which voted most overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.
Who are they? She stood to be an MEP back in 2014 but did not succeed. Jones describes herself as an "avid feminist". She says she became galvanised to support Ukip because of Labour's intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Highest office held: Ukip Lambeth Deputy Chairperson.
What are their politics like? Is that dark red or purple? She says Ukip but talks about Labour a lot. Other than that, it's hard to tell. She seems to love referendums and thinks we should have more.
Any embarrassing Ukip-y moments that they will struggle to live down? When she was an MEP candidate she shouted "will you just shut up" at her opponent during a live radio debate.
Something they've said which is actually of interest: In 2014, when trying to get elected as an MEP, she said, "Eschew misogyny! Embrace modernity! 35 percent of UK MEPs are female and for whatever reason not one is Ukip."
Will she win? Unlikely.
Summary in a few words: "Will you just shut up!"
Where are they from? He stood as a candidate for MEP for the North East of England. Another Ukiper from a traditionally Labour area.
Who are they? He describes himself as "a young, passionate, northern, working class guy".
Highest office held: Councillor. He came fourth in last year's general election when he ran for MP of Hartlepool.
What are their politics like? Royal Purple. The Tory right's worst nightmare. He used to be a Conservative, serving as Conservative councillor in Stockton between 2007 and 2011, before defecting to Ukip. A quick peruse of his WordPress reveals that his policies are a bit thin on the ground, though.
Any embarrassing Ukip-y moments that they will struggle to live down? He's made some pretty weird videos that might be an attempt at humour, including one in which he describes himself as being "cleverer", "better looking" and "more charismatic" than anyone else.
Key quote: "Wrestling is a passion of mine, as is politics. It is a shame you get attacked for your passions."
Will he win? Britain voted to leave the EU. Anything is possible.
Summary in a few words: Needs to work on his personal brand.
The winner of Ukip's leadership contest will be announced on the 15th of September.
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