Ukip elects Dick Braine as leader

Ukip elects Dick Braine as leader

Dick Braine has been elected as the leader of Ukip after taking more than half the vote, a party spokesman has said.

In a ballot of members, the chairman of the party’s west London branch received 53% of the vote – more than double that of his closest rival.

In a ballot of members, Mr Braine received 53% of the vote – more than double that of his closest rival. Mr Braine was the favoured candidate of his predecessor, Gerard Batten, who resigned after UKIP’s poor performance in the European elections in May.

Freddy Vachha was second with 20%, followed by Ben Walker on 14% and former deputy leader Mike Hookem on 13%.

Braine was the favoured candidate of former leader Gerard Batten, who stood down after the party was wiped out in May’s European elections, haemorrhaging support to Nigel Farage’s Brexit party.

Following his victory, Dick Braine said he wanted to establish Ukip as the “far-moderate voice of common sense” in Britain. “We have got a great future and we are coming back. I am very excited and looking forward to leadership of this party, bringing the members together and delivering better results,” he said.

Batten threw his support behind Dick Braine after being barred from standing again by Ukip’s national executive committee. His leadership had become embroiled in controversy after taking on English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson as an adviser.

Racism at its core

Mr Batten’s leadership had also become dogged by claims that he was steering the party to the far right.

In November 2018 he appointed former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson as a political adviser.

The party also selected controversial YouTuber Carl Benjamin, also known as Sargon of Akkad, as an MEP candidate in May’s elections.

Mr Benjamin was widely condemned during the campaign for comments he made about raping Labour MP Jess Phillips.

Former leader Nigel Farage had previously warned the party faces ‘total and utter marginalisation’ if it moves to the extremes of politics.

Earlier this year he said the party had ‘attracted individuals that I would never have allowed’.

The party’s strong performances under Nigel Farage helped to pressure then-PM David Cameron into calling the 2016 referendum.

Farage quit as leader after winning the Brexit vote although he later returned temporarily as the party went through a succession of leaders.

Diane James, Paul Nuttall and Henry Bolton have all led the party for short periods since 2016.

Bolton’s leadership veered off the rails in a row over his relationship with 26-year-old girlfriend Jo Marney.

It emerged in early 2018 that Ms Marney had sent messages to a friend in which she said that Meghan Markle’s ‘seed’ would ‘taint’ the Royal Family when she married Prince Harry.

Bolton was ousted as party leader in February that year despite temporarily breaking up to save his political career.

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