[Ed: in the last two weeks we have asked the Leadership Candidates to lay out their stalls here at UKIP Daily so that members who cannot attend hustings have a chance to see for themselves what they stand for. Elizabeth Jones is the first one of the candidates still running who has taken this opportunity, and we look forward to publishing those of the other candidates in the order they reach us.]
Continuing Winning for UKIP
(Campaign speech given at the West Midlands Regional Hustings on 15 August in Wolverhampton)
This is UKIP’s fifth contested leadership election in our history, and we have our biggest field of candidates at five, with more non-MEPs standing than ever before at three, and with three candidates being women, and that is more women than either we or any other party has ever fielded before in British political leadership contests.
There really is only one question which you are all itching to ask of any leadership candidate, why me? Why cast your vote for Elizabeth Jones, and of course, by extension, my running mate, Councillor Lawrence Webb, to be my deputy? So, what do I stand for? What will you get when you vote for me?
- You will get a tried and trusted pair of dedicated UKIP activists and campaigners. We have great breadth of experience within the party, holding branch, regional and national positions. Indeed last year I polled the third highest amongst the membership in the most recent NEC elections. Between us Lawrence and I have fought 33 elections as UKIP candidates at all levels, and won over 100,000 votes for UKIP.
- You will get a media-savvy experienced performer, especially adept in the media goldfish bowl based in our capital city, with a good relationship with both the BBC and commercial broadcasters.
- I am a legally-trained analytical person who wants to plan strategically how we take our next big step, towards Westminster.
- There is only one game in town for UKIP now, one word, one aim: Westminster. Without MPs we will indeed run the risk of becoming more of a pressure group rather like the Greens.
Being leader of UKIP is a four-year term of office. In our history only one person has ever completed a contested four-year term and that is Nigel Farage. I want to become the successor to Nigel’s tremendous legacy, his extraordinary achievements and his blessings, by continuing in his footsteps. It might not sound very headline-grabbing but in this sense I offer myself as the continuity candidate with voter appeal across the widest possible spectrum of the British population.
I want stability and unity for UKIP internally, whilst never stifling debate. I won’t stand up on public platforms or social media and slag off this party or my fellow members, and I won’t run down, threaten or misuse our party either. I do recognise the need for reforms and make two firm commitments to UKIP members right now.
I vow that I will reform our party where improvement is genuinely wanted and needed.
I vow that you, the members, will be much more involved, not least through direct democracy, as a result. That I promise.
I want to bring together a Conference of the Candidates after the election result is declared in September so all of our ideas for reform can be pooled together and used as the basis to create new frameworks for the future management of our party.
Meanwhile our policies as set out and fully costed in the 2015 General Election Manifesto will absolutely remain as my bedrock. My next step will be to refresh them in light of Brexit, in readiness for 2017’s local elections, and any parliamentary by-elections.
We must be ready to swing into action for those and I will spearhead a By-election Team leading by example on the ground. One advantage I will have as your leader is no other political distractions pulling me towards Brussels or any one constituency or ward.
I intend to be an ‘on-the-road’ leader touring the country to meet and bolster our membership. My first tour will be a Labour Heartlands Road Show – going out there in the Midlands, Wales and northern England to meet branches, the public, local activists, local councillors, and the local media.
I want to take UKIP on its next journey, to Westminster. I want to forge UKIP into an even more effective fighting machine, to mould it into a party comfortable with itself, to expand our membership and improve our finances, all the while, leading from my Boadicean chariot onwards to success in Westminster, to real political power.
We have delivered Brexit to Britain. Now let’s deliver UKIP to Britain!
Please vote for me.
Elizabeth Jones, Deputy Chairman, UKIP Lambeth, August 2016