Following last week’s guest slot by Tabman raising the question of the possible impact on the Tories if a new UKIP leader seeks to occupy their territory UKIP Insider has written this appraisal of the contenders.
Nigel Farage is seen as the favourite to win the UKIP leadership. He will win plenty of support from armchair activists because he is UKIPâ€™s best-known face on television. However, it is by no means certain that he will actually remain in the race until the end. Nigel is a reluctant candidate, persuaded to stand by some of his fellow MEPs who were afraid that a candidate opposed to the current leadership might be elected. He does not want the party leadership, but is terrified that Suchorzewski might win if he pulls out. Supporters include Sir Patrick Moore and Alan Bown (multi-millionaire financier) .
Nigel is already the leader of UKIPâ€™s MEPs and intends to continue his work in the European Parliament. He works an incredible number of hours each week, and it is feared that he simply does not have time to lead the party. Indeed, he has stated at hustings that he would leave much of the job to his party chairman.
After a News of The World story earlier this year, Nigel has lost the support of a number of grassroots activists. It is rumoured that more stories will break should he win the leadership.
Several close Farage friends and supporters (one a senior MEP) have privately asked Nigel to stand down on the grounds that he simply does not have time to do the job properly.
Verdict: IF Nigel Farage remains in the race, he can expect to win.
Richard Suchorzewski is the partyâ€™s moderniser. Despised by the current leadership, he aims to transform the partyâ€™s administration. His job involves turning failing businesses around; he claims this is what UKIP needs. As an NEC member, he has made few friends â€“ but has the support of popular ex-chairman Petrina Holdsworth, and he has more supporters listed on his website than any other candidate.
His problem lies in the fact that he is not well-known; some UKIP members donâ€™t turn up to UKIP meetings. Richardâ€™s lack of media profile makes him vulnerable although he may well be the most popular choice with activists.
Richard is either loved or hated by those who know him; there are few sitting on the fence. Would he split the party if elected? Richard enjoys near-universal support in Wales and Scotland, and leads in the North-East and Yorkshire – but these regions have the smallest membership.
Verdict : A dark horse. Grassroots support and strong hustings performances might allow him to steal the leadership if Nigel Farage and David Campbell-Bannerman split the current leadershipâ€™s vote equally.
David Campbell-Bannerman is the current party chairman and has made a difference to the partyâ€™s organisation behind the scenes. He lacks a natural support base within the party, which could prove a major stumbling block. Members generally divide according to their view of the current leadership. Pro-leadership members naturally lean towards Farage; anti-leadership members lean towards Suchorzewski. David Campbell-Bannerman (widely known as DCB) therefore has an uphill task in his leadership bid.
He has begun to gain support and momentum by releasing a full manifesto and pledging to strengthen UKIP as a low-tax, right-of-centre party. He has overwhelming support in the North-West, despite the local MEP supporting Farage and will also be strong in London, supported by Gerard Batten MEP.
Verdict : If Nigel Farage stands down, DCB could pick up enough support to squeeze home
David Noakes speaks of the â€˜EU Police Stateâ€™ and Common Purpose conspiracies. He does not intend to win the election, but wants to raise awareness of his own agenda.
Verdict : This conspiracy theorist will be lucky if he keeps his deposit (5% threshold)
UKIP Insider is exactly that and does not want to reveal his name
Note from Mike Smithson: We are on the look-out for guest slot contributions for the holiday period – particularly for the last week of August and first week in September when I will be in Southern France for my son Robert’s wedding to Lucille. Book Value (Philip Grant) will again be acting as guest editor. Ideally pieces should be of interest to the PB.C audience and be in a form to provoke an interesting discussion. Email me first.