Deadline looms for Ukip race

By Peter Wozniak

The race for the leadership of the United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip) will take shape today, with four contenders so far going for the top job, including former leader Nigel Farage.

Candidates wishing to put themselves forward for the leadership have until 17:00 BST to get enough backing from party members to put their names into the hat.

The frontrunner is Mr Farage, who is by far the most high-profile figure in Ukip. He stepped down as leader in order to contest a Westminster seat, though he failed to dislodge the Speaker John Bercow from his Buckingham constituency.

The MEP also endured the ordeal of a plane crash on election day, which was followed by some speculation that he would retreat from frontline politics.

However, Mr Farage has sought the leadership once more, and will be joined by David Campbell-Bannerman, also an MEP, and author of the party’s 2010 manifesto.

Professor Tim Congdon, an economist and candidate in the general election, along with Winston Mackenzie, a businessman and former boxer, round out the list of contenders, though further candidates can join the race if they gain the nomination of 51 party members by this evening.

The four men are seeking to replace Lord Pearson, who stepped down, saying that he “wasn’t much good at party politics”, after a disappointing general election performance that saw the party fail to win a single seat, and a series of embarrassing media performances.

The party is currently under the stewardship of Jeremy Titford MEP, and the result is set to be announced on November 5th after the 18,000 party members have voted by ballot.