We’re due to receive voting papers this week in the UKIP leadership election. Unlike the Labour contest which seems to have been dragging on for ever, the UKIP process has been relatively short.
The contest started with some controversy when one of the favourite candidates failed to get all his paperwork submitted by the deadline and was subsequently excluded from the election. This caused a certain amount of disquiet among members with a good number unhappy with the decision of the NEC.
Since then, things have quietened down quite a lot and most of the candidates have been taking part in officially organised Hustings events around the Country. The one person who has not chosen that route is Surrey’s own Diane James who thought long and hard about whether to stand and has opted to run her own Q&A events around the Country.
I attended the South East Regional Hustings at the Lakeside in Frimley Green a week ago and enjoyed hearing the various candidates’ points of view.
The fact that there are 5 to choose from (Diane, Bill Etheridge, Lisa Duffy, Elizabeth Jones, Philip Broughton) makes is quite difficult as each have aspects that would make them a good leader but also weaker areas that will need some focus if they are successful. Then of course there’s the unenviable task of following Nigel Farage.
It’s also interesting that three of the five candidates are female – interesting firstly because the left wing media love to spread the myth that UKIP is somehow a blokey party with anti-women views, and secondly that it is likely that we’ll have our first female leader before Labour or the Libdems.
As for who I’m voting for, I’m not going to tell you, but the winner will be announced at our Party Conference in Blackpool in September and Deena and I will be there to pledge our support whoever is the winner.