Ramsey councillor misses out on bid to replace Nigel Farage as UKIP leader

Lisa Duffy at Rivergate

Lisa Duffy at Rivergate

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Ramsey councillor Lisa Duffy missed out on her bid to replace Nigel Farage as the new leader of UKIP.

Ms Duffy came second behind MEP Diane James who took the top job with 8,451 votes.

The mum-of-six, who works in Peterborough as chief of staff to MEP Patrick O’Flynn, came second with 4,591 votes.

During the leadership battle 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.”

Ms James secured nearly half the votes in the contest after going up against four other hopefuls.

Taking to the stage at the party’s annual conference in Bournemouth, she said: “I still haven’t quite come to grips with it.

New Ukip leader Diane James Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire POLITICS

New Ukip leader Diane James Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire POLITICS

“I’m still pinching myself but I’m just immensely grateful for what you have done and what you have bestowed on me.”

The new leader said the party had “moved mountains on the political landscape” and was the “change movement of the United Kingdom.”

Ms James insisted that Brexit must mean “100 per cent EU exit” and said UKIP’s “people’s army” must keep up the pressure on Theresa May’s Government.

She said: “And Mrs May, from one grammar school girl to another, stop the faff, stop the fudge and the farce, get on with it - evoke Article 50 and give UKIP the best Christmas present we could ever have, 2016, December 25.”

As she took to the stage to take over from Mr Farage as the party’s new leader, Ms James paid tribute to the work of her predecessor.

But she stressed that she must be allowed to lead the party in her own way, saying she would not be a “Nigel-like, not even Nigel-lite.”

Paying tribute to Mr Farage, she said he had “given up decades, sacrificed a huge amount” and will be “a stalwart proponent and supporter of Brexit in making sure it is delivered.”

She added: “The European Union referendum and the outcome meant that Britain, or the United Kingdom, however you want to style it, is embarking on a new era and that is the same for our party - the United Kingdom Independence Party.

“I am not Nigel-like, I am not even Nigel-lite. I’ll never ever pretend to be so.

“What I will be doing is stepping into his leadership shoes, but I will be doing everything to achieve the political success that he’s handing over to me.”

Sketching out her style of leadership, Ms James said her language “might be a little different” and that “unlike Nigel I may not be able to be as frank as I want to be.”

And she said the party needs to change and become more professionalised to become “a winning political machine.”

“Professionalism though will be top of my agenda. If we are going to reach and achieve the goals this party is still capable of achieving, then change is going to have to happen,” she added.

“It is not going to be change for change’s sake, it is not going to be change because I think I want to change it and I can’t justify it. It is going to be because change is necessary and justified.”

She accused the Conservative Party of stealing many of UKIP’s policies and branded the Prime Minister “Magpie May.”

Ms James said: “Magpie May you have stolen so far our two per cent defence spending, you’ve also tried to steal our grammar schools but I think you are going to have a few difficulties getting that one through.”

She warned Ukip MEPs will continue “being the thorn” in the side of the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

And stressed that Britain does not want “Brexit-lite”, insisting the UK should leave the single market and put a stop to the free movement of people.

She said: “We’ve only just won a heat, a heat in a 28 member states Olympics competition to leave the European Union.

“And I’m very, very grateful and I appreciate all of the other countries now looking to Britain and hoping to emulate what we have done here in their own countries.

“But the UK signature is not yet dry on that document.”

Ms James said the Brexit vote had shown what a potent political force UKIP is, adding: “We are going to confound our critics, we are going to outwit our opponents, we are going to build on our election success that we have achieved to date and do more.

“We are the opposition party in waiting so watch out.”

In total, 17,970 votes were cast in the contest.

Bill Etheridge came third on 2,052 votes, Phillip Broughton received 1,545 votes and Elizabeth Jones 1,203 votes.

The remaining ballots were spoiled.