Suzanne Evans, former deputy chairman of Ukip, has announced her intention to run for the leadership of the party. ‘I think I’m the right person to lead Ukip into the challenges ahead,’ she told Andrew Marr, adding, ‘first and foremost, I think I’m absolutely the right person to champion the cause of those 17.4 million people who voted to leave the European Union.’
Nigel Farage’s former deputy, Paul Nuttall, also announced his intention to run telling Andrew Neil that he would ‘stand on a platform of the unity candidate – Ukip needs to come together.’
Evans and Nuttall are the latest candidates to join a field that includes Raheem Kassam, Farage’s former spin doctor and now a blogger for Breitbart UK. Evans labelled Kassam ‘far right’ this morning, much to his chagrin.
And who else will join this race? It looks like David Coburn, a Ukip MEP and Peter Whittle, a London Assembly member and former mayoral candidate. For all the talk of unity, this Ukip leadership race might speed up its disaggregation: Evans criticising the ‘hard right tea party tendency’ of Ukip is unlikely to build bridges. Indeed, she immediately lost the support of Nigel Farage, who told Robert Peston he wouldn’t vote for Evans, saying that for her ‘to talk about the party being toxic…I don’t view this as being a very good start,’ and that ‘she may well think that herself, but that is not how Ukip members and Ukip voters feel.’