Ukip elects West London chairman Richard Braine as new leader
Richard Braine has been elected as the new leader of Ukip.
Mr Braine, the party’s West London chairman, will take over from interim leader Gerard Batten after winning more than half the vote, a party spokesman said.
Only 5,539 votes were cast in the leadership contest - around a quarter of the party’s membership.
Mr Braine, who describes himself as a software developer, beat out former London region MEP candidate Freddy Vacha who won just 20% of the vote, while Ben Walker and former MEP Mike Hookem won 14% and 13% of the vote respectively.
Speaking after his victory, Mr Braine said he wanted Ukip to become a “far-moderate voice of common sense” in Britain.
The leadership contest came after the party was decimated in May’s European Parliament elections, with much of its support going to former leader Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.
The party’s popularity had also slipped after Mr Batten repeatedly praised the views of far-right commentators and appointed English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson as an advisor.
But Mr Batten, who was blocked from standing in the leadership contest by the party’s national executive, is expected to be appointed as Mr Braine’s deputy after throwing his weight behind him during the campaign.
Speaking after his victory, Mr Braine said: “Thank you very much to the wonderful Ukip members - the independent thinkers who have reasserted nationhood and changed the world.
“It’s a great honour for me to be leader of Ukip and I’m very proud of the party and what it stands for.
“I’m determined to get the message out from the party about our manifesto and our great policies and get people in this country to understand that Ukip is the ‘far-moderate’ voice of common sense in Britain.”
He added; “We’ve got a lot more to do, we’ve got a great future and we’re coming back - so I’m very excited and I’m looking and forward to the leadership of this party, bringing the members together and delivering better results.”