The UKIP leadership race: the runners and riders in full
- Credit: Archant
UKIP is to hold a leadership contest after the European Parliament elections. Here's who could be their seventh leader in less than three years
High-profile leader Gerard Batten has confirmed there will be an election following the May 23 Euro poll, after losing 145 of 176 seats in local council elections their main rivals weren't even standing in.
Batten denied he would stand down sooner, tweeting: "The usual lies. I was elected unopposed in mid April for a 12 month term. The NEC asked me to extend the term to get beyond the local & Euro elections. There will therefore be a leadership election after the Euros. I will decide then if I am running again."
But who could follow in the footsteps of the one who lasted 18 days, Nigel Farage for the third time, the one who claimed to be a footballer with a PhD, the one nobody can remember, the one who ran off with a 20-something model and the one who appointed a far-right convicted criminal as an advisor?
Here are your runners and riders in the race sure to set summer alight...
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Incumbent who was appointed to the role of leader unelected last year in the manner of one of those Brussels Eurocrats you hear about. Has since pivoted UKIP's prime position from opposing UK membership of the European Union to opposing Muslims in the UK. Looks like a middle manager of a provincial bank branch who has seen repeated generations appointed ahead of him and blames literally everybody other than his own lack of competence and charm. Stood against Theresa May in her Maidenhead constituency, where he came fifth with 871 votes, losing his deposit but at least coming ahead of Bobby Smith from the Give Me Back My Elmo Party. Rarely gives interviews to the hated MSM and when he does gets increasingly angry at these infernal people asking him questions about things he and people he has literally taken to rallies as faces of his party have said.
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Advantages: Incumbency, the fact that it is entirely possible no-one else will want it
Disadvantages: Incumbency, the fact he has made all the impact on history as Band Aid II (the one with D-Mob and Glen Goldsmith)
Far-right activist, convicted criminal and UKIP advisor whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and who has previously gone by the names Andrew McMaster, Paul Harris, Wayne King, Duncan Doughnuts and Stephen Lennon (note: only one of these is untrue). Boasting numerous convictions, including for violence and financial and immigration fraud, the noted scholar of penal policy was last year appointed Gerard Batten's advisor on "rape gangs and prison reform", Batten saying they were areas of which "he has great knowledge". A hero for many men of a certain age for whom life has turned out to be a series of disappointments and who gather in Trafalgar Square to chant his name, make a nuisance of themselves for the police and compare their rubbish tattoos.
Advantages: UKIP may have noted the success of other party leaders with questionable attitudes to certain religious minorities and who enjoy hearing their name chanted by large crowds
Disadvantages: Actually banned from being a member of UKIP by rules barring former members of the English Defence League and EDL #awks
Three-time leader of UKIP who has since found the new Battenite brand too far-right for even his tastes and has since launched his Brexit Party. Could he be tempted back by one last crack? Unlikely, since his new party is well ahead in the polls and is yet to be hit by the inevitable slew of old Facebook posts by his brand new outside-the-Westminster-bubble candidates calling for Sir Trevor McDonald to be deported. Still the only candidate bookies are offering odds on, though, with Betway pricing him at 4/1. Claimed he has "stepped out of retirement" from frontline politics to lead the Brexit Party, a retirement that limited him to keeping his £89,000-a-year MEP job, a well-remunerated five-night-a-week slot on cabbies' favourite LBC and a string of lucrative US speaking engagements spouting claptrap about Oldham.
Advantages: Done the job before, brings his own Question Time invitation
Disadvantages: Has left the party and started a more successful rival
Far-right YouTuber who goes by the name Sargon of Akkad and who is standing as a UKIP candidate in this month's Euro elections. Caused controversy by making comments about raping the Labour MP Jess Phillips, remarks that were defended by himself and his leader as humour because rape = LOLZ, obviously. One giant physical embodiment of the hordes of hairy-palmed young men with names like DAMOCLES1856DHWRGYR who spend their time goading liberals online, Benjamin's selection should serve as a warning to future generations of the dangers of selecting parliamentary candidates by trawling Reddit for people asking when International Men's Day is. Has said: "Jewish people, unfortunately for them, have got to drop the identity politics. I'm sorry about the Holocaust but I don't give a shit."
Advantages: Already has a large social media following for a party without two brass buttons to rub together
Disadvantages: Likely to fail the 'Matt Baker and Alex Jones ask who does the cooking in your house' test
Former Nazi Party leader and German dictator who led his country from 1933 to 1945 and part-time artist.
Advantages: Strongman leader with an acute mastery of the media and rhetoric
Disadvantages: Committed suicide in his bunker in 1945
Gargamel from The Smurfs
Perpetually stooped misanthrope consumed by his overwhelming mission to destroy the Smurfs.
Advantages: Committed track record of removing "the other". Dedicated to cause, with catchphrase "I'll get you if it's the last thing I do"
Disadvantages: Fictional. More problematically, Belgian
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