Pro-Farage candidate wins UKIP leadership

Henry Bolton (left) – winner of the UKIP leadership race – with Nigel Farage

Despite all the hype, UKIP’s small-c conservative membership eventually voted for the most obviously “respectable” leadership candidate.

Former intelligence officer Henry Bolton was today elected UKIP leader with 3,874 votes (29.9%), ahead of the anti-Islam campaigner Anne Marie Waters on 2,755 (21.3%). The party’s peculiar first-past-the-post, single ballot system – and the fact that there were seven candidates on the ballot paper, six of whom had a serious chance – meant it was always likely that the winner would have less than one third of the membership’s support.

Turnout was only 46.6%, reflecting the fact that many of those nominally listed as party members (and entitled to vote) have already quit UKIP and had no interest in its leadership contest.

Bolton had warned that a victory for Waters and her EDL backers would risk UKIP becoming some form of “nazi party”. He will now claim a clear mandate, since the two most obvious anti-Islam candidates (Ms Waters and GLA member Peter Whittle) had only 32.2% between them, so even with a transferable vote Ms Waters would not have won.

Mixed-race GLA member David Kurten finished third with 2,201 votes (17.0%); Welsh businessman and libertarian John Rees-Evans fourth on 2,021 (15.6%); original bookies’ favourite Peter Whittle fifth on 1,413 (10.9%), after much of his support drained to Ms Waters; Rotherham parliamentary candidate Jane Collins a surprisingly poor sixth on 566 (4.4%) despite having been backed by two former rival candidates who withdrew in her favour; and space-travel enthusiast Aidan Powlesland seventh on 85 (0.65%).

All eyes now are on Nigel Farage and his financial backer Arron Banks, who had plans to launch a new breakaway movement within days if Waters or Whittle were elected. Their decision may now depend on whether Henry Bolton is able to secure constitutional changes reducing the role of the party’s executive and enhancing the leadership’s power.

UKIP leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters (left) promoting the UK launch of anti-Islam group PEGIDA alongside the EDL founder Tommy Robinson (centre) and Liberty GB’s Paul Weston

The most likely short-term breakaway is now from the other side of the party: Anne Marie Waters and her Islam-obsessed faction.

One of Ms Waters’s leading allies, Paul Weston of Liberty GB, reacted badly to the result, tweeting: “UKIP needed a revolutionary leader, instead it got Mr Establishment Henry Bolton OBE who will do nothing whatsoever about Islam.”

Another close Waters associate, EDL founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (alias Tommy Robinson), similarly commented: “UKIP are now irrelevant when it comes to the biggest threat our country faces. We need a political voice to oppose Islam like Wilders & Le Pen.”

By contrast third-placed David Kurten and fellow candidate Jane Collins were quick to tweet their loyalty to the new leader.

H&D will have a fuller report on the UKIP contest later this weekend, and a detailed analysis in issue 81 of what these developments mean for the British nationalist movement.

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