Farage returns as Ukip’s leader

By Alex Stevenson

Nigel Farage has succeeded in recapturing the UK Independence party’s (Ukip) leadership.

The party’s frontman won 60.5% of the 10,073 votes cast to beat deputy leader and MEP David Campbell Bannerman, economist Tim Congdon and ex-boxer Winston McKenzie in the race to succeed Lord Pearson’s short tenure in the job.

His nearest challenger, Mr Congdon, took 20.2% of the vote. Mr Campbell-Bannerman took 14% while Mr McKenzie only attracted 5.3% of votes cast.

“We need to up our game. The party needs to grow and my message to people is to say look – don’t just agree with us, don’t just lend us your vote,” he said.

“Join us, help us, get involved in this great crusade against the entire political class in this country.”

Mr Farage had stood down as head of the party to concentrate on his bid to beat Commons Speaker John Bercow in his Buckingham constituency.

That attempt failed but was made more dramatic by the light aircraft crash which Mr Farage survived on polling day.

“I do give thanks for being alive and being here today. To survive that plane crash on May 6th was nothing short of miraculous,” he added.

Now recovered from his injuries, the former leader who served from 2006 to 2009 comfortably topped the ballot of the party’s 18,000 members.

Lord Pearson stood down after admitting during the campaign he did not understand the details of his party’s manifesto. He increased his party’s share of the vote to three per cent but did not win a single parliamentary seat.

“I’m sure I’ll be remembered… as the toff who didn’t bother to read his own manifesto,” he said, to laughter.

“I’m sure you’ll agree the Ukip crown returns to its rightful owner. What sort of crown it is I shall leave up to you.”