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‘I’m NOT Nigel’ Diane James elected Ukip leader after winning race with landslide victory

DIANE JAMES today described herself as “deeply honoured” as she was elected to replace outgoing Ukip leader Nigel Farage in a landslide victory.

The South East MEP was this afternoon announced the winner of the party’s leadership contest at Ukip’s annual conference in Bournemouth.Ms James vowed to “make Ukip the winning machine it will become” as she addressed party members in her victory speech.

The former healthcare consultant scooped 8,451 votes, representing 48 per cent of Ukip members who took part in the ballot.

Local councillor Lisa Duffy gained 25 per cent of the vote, MEP Bill Etheridge won 12 per cent of the vote while Tesco worker Phillip Broughton and lawyer Elizabeth Jones attracted just over 1,000 votes each.

In a mirror of Mr Farage’s opening to his farewell speech, delivered just before the leadership announcement, Ms James said: “We did it… you did it… and I have just done it!”She added: “It’s going to take me a little time to come back down to Earth.”

Thanking Brexit champion Mr Farage, Ms James went on: “I’m so enormously grateful of what we have done… what you have bestowed on me.”

Looking back at Ukip’s surge to becoming one of Britain’s major political forces and lead efforts to get Britain out of the EU, Ms James insisted “nobody can take away from Ukip… the disruption we have caused”.

She said: “The days of Project Fear tactics have had their day.

“And we’ve proved why they have had their day and we are going to ensure they will never, ever rise from the political ashes again.”

She described Ukip as “the political change movement of the UK”.

Diane JamesPA•SKY

Diane James has been voted Ukip leader


Despite the EU referendum result, Ms James told Ukip members they “can not take our eyes off that important elephant in the room”.Vowing to keep up the pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May not to settle for ‘Brexit-lite’, Ms James said: “We gave only just won a heat in a 28 member state Olympics competition to leave the EU.”

She added the “signature ink” on Brexit was “not yet dry” and that until it was the EU would “still push us about”.

Branding the Prime Minister ‘Magpie May’ over her adoption of Ukip-proposed policies such as bringing back grammar schools and immigration control, Ms James said: “When you try and bury Ukip, when you throw everything at us.

“When you try to undermine us, demoralise us, demotivate us.

“Just remember where the best ideas you steal where they come from and where they will most likely come from again in the future.”

Ms James said she would not be a “Nigel-lite” as she replaces Mr Farage as she called for the party to unite after weeks of infighting.

She said: “If I’m not leader with you people behind me that title is meaningless.”

In a promise of a successful future for Ukip, Ms James vowed: “We are going to confound our critics.

“We are going to out-wit our opponents.”

She urged members to “support and work with me, win with me, make Ukip the winning machine it will become”.

Diane James Ukip leaderPA

Diane James celebrating with Nigel Farage


During the leadership battle MEP Ms James promised to have a “laser focus” on the Brexit negotiations but refused to set out any policies, insisting she did not want to make “policy on the hoof”.

Mr Farage earlier said he was “guessing it’s going to be a her” as he offered a strong hint over the leadership result.

During a humorous final speech as Ukip leader, he told the party faithful: “We will find out at half past one who our new leader is and I wish them – I’m guessing it’s going to be a her but we’ll see – I wish them the very best of luck.

“And my job is not to meddle my job is not to try and influence but my job will be if that leader wants any help and advice then make no mistake about it I am still fore square behind this party and its aims.”

Earlier Ukip’s chairman Paul Oakden welcomed the party’s membership as “winners” as the battle to replace Mr Farage went down to the wire.

Before Ms James election, party sources had suggested a large number of spoiled ballot papers in the leadership election, including many calling for Mr Farage to stay on as leader, could have throw up a surprise result.

Diane JamesPA

Diane James giving her winner’s speech after becoming the new Ukip leader


Diane James Ukip leader with Nigel FaragePA

Diane James won with nearly half the votes


Lisa Duffy, Bill Etheridge, Diane JamesGETTY

UKIP leadership contenders (Left to right) Lisa Duffy, Bill Etheridge, Diane James


Phillip Broughton and Elizabeth JonesGETTY

UKIP leadership contenders Phillip Broughton (left) and Elizabeth Jones (right)


Our talisman, the man who almost single-handedly delivered independence to Britain: Nigel Farage

Paul Oakden, UKIP’s chairman

Delivering his welcome message to Ukip’s annual conference in Bournemouth, Mr Oakden said the membership would be saying “thank you and goodbye to one of the most successful political regimes in the last 15 years” under Mr Farage.

Paul OakdenGETTY

Nigel Farage has had one of the ‘most successful political regimes in the last 15 years’ says Oakden


To rapturous applause, he added: “To our talisman, the man who almost single-handedly delivered independence to Britain: Nigel Farage.”Amid weeks of bitter internal disputes within the party, which have left many fearing for Ukip’s future post-Farage, Mr Oakden called on delegates to use this weekend’s gathering as an “opportunity to show that virtue that sets you apart from the old establishment parties – our unity”.

He added: “To demonstrate to everybody that a few people choosing to be unpleasant to each other on social media is not what this party is about.”We come into this conference as winners. Winners of the last election, winners of the 2016 EU referendum.”

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/711300/New-UKIP-leader-party-conference-Nigel-Farage

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