Ukip elects Diane James as new leader

Ms Diane James pledged to make sure Britain acts on the Brexit referendum and leaves the EU.
Ms Diane James pledged to make sure Britain acts on the Brexit referendum and leaves the EU.

BOURNEMOUTH • Britain's anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip) elected deputy chairman Diane James as its new leader yesterday to replace Brexit talisman Nigel Farage, who stepped down after helping to win the referendum on European Union membership in June.

Ms James, currently a member of the European Parliament, was announced as the party's new head at its annual conference in the coastal town of Bournemouth after a ballot of the Ukip's 40,000 members.

"We are the political change movement of the United Kingdom," she said. A former business analyst with a long career in the healthcare sector, she has pledged to ensure the government delivers an exit from the EU that meets the demands of Ukip voters: namely tighter immigration controls and more free trade.

Mr Farage used his final speech as leader yesterday to demand that his successor push for a "hard" EU exit that meets the demands of his party's voters. He said his party had "changed the centre of gravity" of British politics but warned that his successor must not let the government water down the terms of Britain's exit.

"We can be very proud of the fact that we won the war but we now must win the peace," he told a crowd of cheering activists. He set out three criteria by which the success of Brexit negotiations should be judged: whether Britain is outside the single market and free from European regulation, whether it has control of fishing rights in its territorial waters, and whether it has got rid of EU passports.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2016, with the headline 'Ukip elects Diane James as new leader'. Print Edition | Subscribe