2017 UK Independence Party leadership election

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2017 UK Independence Party leadership election
← November 2016 29 September 2017 2018 →
Turnout39.4% (Decrease7.5%)
  Henry Bolton Speaking (cropped).jpg Anne Maria Waters (cropped).jpg Davidkurten (cropped).jpg
Candidate Henry Bolton Anne Marie Waters David Kurten
Running mate Stuart Agnew
Percentage 30.0% 21.3% 17.0%
Popular vote 3,874 2,755 2,201

  Peter Whittle (37994228346) (cropped).jpg
Candidate John Rees-Evans Peter Whittle Jane Collins
Running mate Bill Etheridge David Coburn
Percentage 15.6% 10.9% 4.4%
Popular vote 2,021 1,413 566

Leader before election

Steve Crowther (interim);
previously Paul Nuttall

Leader after election

Henry Bolton

The 2017 UK Independence Party leadership election was called after the resignation of Paul Nuttall as leader of the UK Independence Party on 9 June 2017, following the poor performance of the party in the 2017 general election.[1] Former party chairman Steve Crowther was chosen three days later to serve as interim leader.[2]

On 11 August, the party confirmed that eleven candidates had been cleared to stand for the leadership.[3] Subsequently, the number on the ballot fell to seven as four withdrew to support other candidates.[4]

The election was won by Henry Bolton with 30.0% of the vote.[5]

Election rules[edit]

The leadership contest was run under a first-past-the-post system, where the candidate with the greatest number of votes became leader.[6]

According to party rules, candidates had to have been party members for at least two years as of 23 June 2017, and needed the support of one hundred members across at least ten local parties. Candidates paid a £5,000 deposit, half of which was refundable for candidates who received at least 20% of the vote.


The election timetable is as follows:

23 June Opening of nominations
28 July Closing of nominations
4 August List of applicants announced[7]
11 August Deadline for withdrawal of candidature and final list of candidates announced
23 August – 11 September Programme of regional hustings[8]
1-8 September Despatch of ballot papers
29 September Completion of verification, count and declaration of the winner


There was immediate speculation that former leader Nigel Farage MEP might stand for a third period as leader. Bill Etheridge MEP and Thanet District Council leader Chris Wells both indicated they might stand if Farage did not.[9][10] Farage subsequently announced in early July that he would not be standing. In the event, neither Etheridge nor Wells stood for the leadership; Etheridge became the running mate of John Rees-Evans.[11]

A key divide between candidates was between what The Guardian described as "Farage-ist economic libertarians" like Etheridge and the "more hard-right, Islam-focused" Anne Marie Waters and Peter Whittle.[12] Etheridge stated that "whichever side wins, the other side won't have a future in the party".[12] In early July, over a thousand new members had joined the party in only two weeks, leading to accusations of far-right infiltration in support of Waters.[12] Party sources suggested Waters had concluded a deal with Whittle that were he to win, she would become deputy leader, which Whittle denied.[13][14]

Nominations closed on 28 July, with candidates then being approved as candidates by the party's executive.[15][16] On 21 August the number fell to ten, when David Allen withdrew to support Henry Bolton.[17] The number of candidates fell again on 31 August, to seven, as Ben Walker, David Coburn MEP and Marion Mason all stepped down in order to form a "Victory for the Ukip United" ticket with Jane Collins. The four wanted to see the party reflect Farage's leadership, rather than "banging on about Islam and gay marriage". Were Collins to be elected, Coburn would have become Deputy Leader with Walker as Party Chairman.[4]


At least 18 of the party's 20 MEPs were reported to be considering resigning and forming a new party if Waters won the leadership or was given a senior role in the party, given her anti-Islam views and support from the far-right.[13] Etheridge publicly said that he would resign if Waters won, and Jonathan Arnott MEP said it would be difficult for him to remain.[13][18] Etheridge subsequently launched his third leadership bid, having previously declared in both of UKIP's 2016 leadership elections.[19]

Etheridge withdrew his candidacy on 26 July, two days before close of nominations. He urged candidates from the "libertarian" wing of the party to unite against what he described as fringe candidates using the party "as a vehicle for the views of the EDL and the BNP". He said he would leave the party if Waters or Whittle won the leadership.[20][21] Jack Buckby, a former parliamentary candidate for Liberty GB who as a former BNP member is barred from joining UKIP, was reported to be helping Waters in her campaign.[22]

Controversy over Waters continued, with Mike Hookem MEP resigning as the party's deputy whip in the European Parliament in protest at her candidacy and at the chief whip Stuart Agnew's support for her. Hookem described Waters as "far-right". Nathan Gill MEP also said he would leave the party if she won. Waters and Whittle both expressed concern at Sharia councils in the UK.[16]

LGBT rights defined another split between those who declared as candidates, with three (Whittle, Waters and Coburn) being openly gay, while David Kurten and John Rees-Evans had both said that they oppose same-sex marriage.[23] Kurten faced criticism when he claimed that gay people are more likely to be abused as children. Whittle retorted: "Neither I, nor any of the gay friends and colleagues I have known over 35 years, were sexually abused."[24]

In August, Rees-Evans announced a proposal to offer £9,000 and health insurance to Britons with dual nationality, in return for them moving to countries where they have the right to settle. They would be required to start a business and trade with the UK. This would be to help achieve "negative net immigration towards one million a year", and would be funded by cutting the foreign aid budget. He was condemned by rivals Whittle and Collins; both Collins and Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake compared the proposal to the BNP's manifesto.[25][26][27]

On 24 August, Lawrence Webb, UKIP group leader on Havering London Borough Council and former mayoral candidate, tweeted that he "won’t stand for 2018 local elections if Peter Whittle wins".[28] The following day, the Romford Recorder reported that all six of Havering Council’s UKIP councillors "will not stand in next year’s local elections if Peter Whittle is named leader of their party".[29]


Candidate[30] Political roles Endorsements
Henry Bolton Henry Bolton 2017 (cropped).jpg Candidate for Kent Police and Crime Commissioner in 2016
Jane Collins UKIP Home Affairs and Justice Spokesperson
(since 2016)

UKIP Employment Spokesperson (2014 - 2016)
MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber (since 2014)
Parliamentary candidate in Rotherham in 2015 and 2012
Parliamentary candidate in Barnsley Central in 2011
Parliamentary candidate in Scunthorpe in 2010

David Kurten
UKIP Education and Apprenticeships Spokesperson
(since 2016)

London-wide Member (AM) of the London Assembly (since 2016)
Parliamentary candidate in Castle Point in 2017
Parliamentary candidate in Camberwell and Peckham in 2015

  • Raheem Kassam[40]
  • Aidan Powlesland Parliamentary candidate for Suffolk South in 2017

    Parliamentary candidate for Harrow East in 2015

    John Rees-Evans Parliamentary candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth in 2015

    Leadership candidate in November 2016

    Bill Etheridge[11]
    Anne Marie Waters
    Director of Sharia Watch UK
    (since 2014)

    Parliamentary candidate for Lewisham East in 2015

    Peter Whittle
    Deputy Leader of UKIP (since 2016)

    UKIP Culture and Communities Spokesperson (since 2014)
    London-wide Member (AM) of, and Leader of UKIP in, the London Assembly (since 2016)
    London Mayoral candidate in 2016
    Candidate for European Parliament in 2014
    Parliamentary candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock in 2017
    Parliamentary candidate for Eltham in 2015




    UK Independence Party leadership election 2017
    Candidate Votes %
    Henry Bolton 3,874
    Anne Marie Waters 2,755
    David Kurten 2,201
    John Rees-Evans 2,021
    Peter Whittle 1,413
    Jane Collins 566
    Aidan Powlesland 85
    Turnout 12,915 39.4%
    Henry Bolton elected as leader


    Bolton said that his victory had prevented UKIP from becoming a British version of the Nazi Party, condemning rhetoric of a war with Islam.[54] He went on to be sacked as party leader by a vote at an emergency conference of the party in February 2018.

    Waters described the election result as a victory of jihad against truth.[55] Singer Morrissey claimed that the party had rigged the vote in order to prevent Waters from winning.[56]

    Rees-Evans resigned from UKIP to found a new political party, called Affinity, but instead joined the Democrats and Veterans party and assuming its leadership. Waters set up a new political party, For Britain.[57][58] Powlesland left UKIP and stood as a local election candidate for the Libertarian Party UK in May 2018.[59]


    1. ^ "Election results 2017: Paul Nuttall quits as UKIP leader". BBC News. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
    2. ^ "North Devon's Steve Crowther becomes UKIP leader". North Devon Gazette. 12 June 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
    3. ^ "Anne Marie Waters: Anti-Islam candidate to stand for UKIP leadership". BBC. 11 August 2017.
    4. ^ a b "Four Ukip candidates unite in joint leadership bid to defeat anti-Islam candidate". The Independent. 2017-09-02. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
    5. ^ Henry Bolton elected UKIP leader. BBC NEWS. Published 29 September 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
    6. ^ "The Constitution". UKIP. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
    7. ^ "Revealed: the 11 candidates vying to become next Ukip leader". Evening Standard. 5 August 2017.
    8. ^ "UKIP Leadership Candidates Announced". The Economic Voice. 5 August 2017.
    9. ^ "Bill Etheridge – I'll stand for UKIP leadership if Nigel Farage won't". Express & Star. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
    10. ^ Francis, Paul (12 June 2017). "Thanet council leader Chris Wells could stand as Ukip leader". KM Group. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
    11. ^ a b "Bill Etheridge unveiled as running mate of UKIP leadership candidate who believes Remain voters were 'indoctrinated' by state school education". Express & Star. 22 August 2017.
    12. ^ a b c correspondent, Peter Walker Political (2 July 2017). "Large influx of new Ukip members prompts fears of far-right takeover" – via The Guardian.
    13. ^ a b c Bennett, Owen (3 July 2017). "Ukip MEPs Will Quit En Masse If Anti-Islam Candidate Becomes New Leader". HuffPost UK. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
    14. ^ "Rumour about AMW deal is false".
    15. ^ "Ukip leadership battle heats up as nominations close". Dumbartonreporter.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
    16. ^ a b "UKIP's Mike Hookem quits role over Anne Marie Waters leadership bid". 12 August 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
    17. ^ a b "Odds shorten on Henry Bolton to replace Paul Nuttall as Ukip leader". Kent Online.
    18. ^ Sean Seddon (2017-07-08). "Ukip MEP Jonathan Arnott signals he could quit party if Anne Marie Waters becomes leader". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
    19. ^ Jonathan Walker (2017-07-05). "West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge launches UKIP leadership bid". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
    20. ^ a b "UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge drops out of leadership race". News.sky.com. 2017-07-26. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
    21. ^ a b "Bill Etheridge drops out of UKIP leadership race". Itv.com. 2017-07-26. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
    22. ^ Peter Walker (2017-06-22). "Ukip leadership hopeful gets help with campaign from ex-BNP member". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
    23. ^ Joseph Patrick McCormick (11 August 2017). "UKIP leadership hopefuls includes 3 LGBT people and 2 anti-LGBT candidates". Pink News.
    24. ^ Bloom, Dan (9 August 2017). "UKIP leadership candidate sparks backlash by suggesting gay people were more likely to be abused as kids". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
    25. ^ "Ukip politicians condemn leadership candidate's '£9,000 to leave UK' idea". The Guardian. 2017-08-18. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
    26. ^ Patrick Maguire (2017-08-19). "Pay British Indians to go home, says Ukip leadership hopeful John Rees-Evans". The Times. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
    27. ^ 18 Aug 2017 10:58 AM (2017-08-18). "UKIP leadership candidate wants to pay British Indians to leave the UK to cut 'unnecessary population' - Business Insider Nordic". Nordic.businessinsider.com. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
    28. ^ Lawrence Webb (2017-08-24). ""I won't stand for 2018 local elections if Peter Whittle wins #UKIPleadership"". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
    29. ^ Matthew Clemenson (2017-08-25). "Havering's Ukip councillors will not stand for re-election if Peter Whittle becomes party leader". Romford Recorder. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
    30. ^ "UKIP LEADERSHIP: Final list of candidates announced".
    31. ^ Carver, James (22 August 2017). "I'm backing Bolton - I'm delighted to announce my support for @_HenryBolton to be elected as the next @UKIP leader". Twitter.
    32. ^ Henry Bolton (2017-08-31). ""#UKIP MEP @raymondfinch has endorsed me in my bid to become the Leader of UKIP. Thank you Ray! https://t.co/r8EjNAgTcf #UKIPleadership https://t.co/MAVnrhzB7w"". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2017-09-24. External link in |title= (help)
    33. ^ Henry Bolton (2017-08-31). ""Thank you @mikehookemmep for endorsing me in my bid to become the Leader of #UKIP. Find out more at https://t.co/r8EjNAgTcf #UKIPleadership https://t.co/QTBnxFKIV2"". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2017-09-24. External link in |title= (help)
    34. ^ "MEP backs ex-soldier for Ukip leadership". Shropshire Star. 4 August 2017.
    35. ^ "Endorsements". Jane4Leader. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
    36. ^ "We're very happy to support @davidkurten in his bid to become UKIP leader. Incredibly smart guy who offers hope for the party. Get on board!". 11 July 2017.
    37. ^ Watson, Paul (12 July 2017). "This is a guy we should all rally behind". Paul Joseph Watson on Twitter. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
    38. ^ Banks, Arron (6 July 2017). "Good Luck David". Arron Banks on Twitter.
    39. ^ "State of the parties in Wales: UKIP". BBC. 8 August 2017.
    40. ^ "Twitter". mobile.twitter.com.
    41. ^ Richard Porritt (2017-07-28). "UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew will be anti-Islam leadership hopeful Anne Marie Waters' deputy". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
    42. ^ Carlqvist, Ingrid (2 July 2017). "Wow! I wish you win, @AMDWaters". Ingrid Carlqvist on Twitter. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
    43. ^ Wilders, Geert. "She is very brave, intelligent and strong. A real freedom fighter! Good luck @AMDWaters with the UKIP leadership election!!pic.twitter.com/CApA3E83Uu".
    44. ^ Tommy, Robinson (29 June 2017). "Join ukip & support @AMDWaters as leaderpic.twitter.com/Vg9Bz2U2Zd". Tommy Robinson on Twitter. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
    45. ^ Vandermensch, Anke (4 July 2017). "Good luck @AMDWaters". Anke Van dermeersch on Twitter. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
    46. ^ "Twitter". mobile.twitter.com.
    47. ^ "Former Ukip leader Paul Nuttall backs Peter Whittle to be his successor". Politics Home.
    48. ^ Aker, Tim (21 August 2017). "I'm here tonight with @prwhittle and I am endorsing him to be the next UKIP Leader". Twitter.
    49. ^ ""Peter is an accomplished media performer - we need a leader who can convey a vision for a new, vibrant and relevant UKIP" -Louise Bours MEP". twitter. 14 September 2017.
    50. ^ Prince, Daniel (26 June 2017). "Ex-Hartlepool MP candidate Phillip Broughton on why he won't stand to be UKIP leader". Hartlepool Mail. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
    51. ^ Farage, Nigel (1 July 2017). "Why I've decided against standing to lead Ukip". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
    52. ^ Singh, Arj (2 July 2017). "Nigel Farage rules out bid to replace Paul Nuttall as Ukip leader". The Independent. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
    53. ^ "UKIP's Neil Hamilton 'not interested' in leading party". BBC News. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
    54. ^ "I've saved Ukip from becoming Nazis, says Henry Bolton". thejc.com. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
    55. ^ "Failed Ukip leadership candidate proclaims 'Jihad 1, Truth 0' after shock defeat". The Independent. 2017-09-30. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
    56. ^ Ellis-Petersen, Hannah (2017-10-02). "Morrissey claims Ukip rigged leadership vote to stop anti-Islam activist". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
    57. ^ "Rees-Evans quits UKIP to form new party". BBC News. 2017-10-03. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
    58. ^ "Anti-Islam Ukipper Anne Marie Waters to set up new political party". Retrieved 2017-10-06.
    59. ^ https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/sites/default/files/statement_of_persons_nominated.pdf