UK Impact

Ukip controversy as Steven Woolfe FAILS to meet deadline for leadership nomination

UKIP leadership frontrunner Steven Woolfe has insisted he is still in the race to replace Nigel Farage after “technical issues” meant he missed the midday deadline doday to get his nomination papers in.

Steven WoolfeGETTY   Steven Woolfe remains in the Ukip leadership race despite failing to get his papers in on time

Mr Woolfe, whose right to run has already been questioned because of allegations that his membership lapsed meaning he would not meet the controversial five year membership rule, is still understood to be going forward to the vetting committee with three other names despite a problem with his computer.A spokesman for Mr Woolfe said: “Steven Woolfe remains a candidate in the leadership contest.

“He submitted his application form at 11.35am this morning, in advance of the midday deadline.“However, due to technical problems on the party system, it did not successfully go through until 12.17pm.

Steven Woolfe and Nigel FarageGETTY  Mr Woolfe is the favourite to replace Nigel Farage as leader of the party

“Mr Woolfe was speaking to party officials responsible for handling the application process throughout this time and right up to the deadline.

Steven Woolfe remains a candidate in the UKIP leadership contest

A spokesman

“He informed them that he was having technical problems. These problems were finally resolved and the paperwork submitted.”The contest comes amid confidence that Ukip can replace Labour in its heartlands.

Mr Woolfe, who is understood to have ’s backing, said he is sure the party can adapt post-Brexit to replace Labour in the north and midlands.

Lisa DuffyPA   Lisa Duffy is second favourite to win

He has promised a “political earthquake” even greater than the party’s successful push for a Leave vote in the EU referendum, which will see it “fill the vacuum” left by hard Left Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his factionalised party.Mr Woolfe has been joined by fellow MEPs Bill Etheridge and Jonathan Arnott along with councillor Lisa Duffy.

Ms Duffy is currently the second favourite with former deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans and leading MEP Patrick O’Flynn backing her.

Ms Duffy has argued that the party needs to target both Labour and Tory seats and vowed to “march the people’s army into Westminster”.

Meanwhile, over the weekend Mr Etheridge emphasised that British values are more under threat now than ever before, with the rise of terrorism and fundamentalist Islam.

“Other parties are scared of speaking out about this, but we in UKIP will not be silenced,” he insisted.As well as being an MEP, Mr Etheridge is a UKIP councillor in Dudley and has a track record of winning votes in the seats that matter.

He said: “In 2015 we secured a large number of votes across the country, but at the next election we need to prove that we can win seats.

“I am a former Conservative who won a safe Labour council seat for UKIP and I believe I have a truly cross-party appeal to voters.”

Mr Arnott is a former chess champion and currently a north east MEP.

The list will be finalised on Tuesday after being considered by the party’s vetting committee.Mr Woolfe is the most high-profile contender after controversial rule changes limited who was eligible to stand barring the party’s only MP Douglas Carswell.

Mr Farage announced he was quitting after the narrow Leave victory in the EU referendum, saying: “I want my life back, and it begins right now.”

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