Why I support Paul Nuttall, by Jeffrey Titford, former UKIP Leader

I was one of many to be disappointed when Paul Nuttall decided not to enter the UKIP leadership contest when Nigel Farage stood down after we had won the historic Referendum on June 23.

He was my first choice to replace Nigel and I am delighted that he has now stepped forward to once more serve his party from the front.

All parties need strong leaders. Paul is the standout candidate for that role.

As well as spending seven years as an MEP for North West England, working in the heart of the EU in Brussels and Strasbourg, he has also spent time as our party chairman and of course as deputy leader to Nigel.

Paul is the natural successor. I am confident he will lead our party with renewed vigour as the United Kingdom heads out of the European Union.

He is far more than a safe pair of hands. He knows the party inside out. He is popular among its elected politicians and the wider membership around the country. His speechmaking is second to none, and his understanding of the bigger picture is first rate.

The thing that unites our party is that we all love our country and want the very best for it and our fellow citizens.

I believe that spirit is embedded in Paul’s DNA, being someone prepared to work hard and then work even harder for our nation.

His work rate before both the 2015 General Election and this year’s Referendum was extraordinary, touring the country to give speeches night after night after night.

He is a forward thinker, too, being one of the first UKIP members to identify that we could attract great support from the traditional Labour voters. The result of that was us coming second place in many Labour areas at the General Election, proving Paul’s point that Labour’s losses would be UKIP’s gain. We must capitalise on that, and on the Referendum success. UKIP has never been in a better position to garner Labour votes and under Paul’s leadership, that is what will happen.

He is also the right man to hold the government’s feet to the fire regarding Brexit negotiations, arguing for a hard Brexit and nothing less.

As I said earlier, I was disappointed that he reluctantly stepped down after June 23, but that disappointment has now turned to delight.

After the recent well-publicised troubles in the party, it was clear that a strong hand needed to be back on the tiller and in Paul that’s precisely what we will get. I have no doubt he is the best placed man to keep Theresa May and her government on their toes in the forthcoming Brexit talks.

It gives me a genuine pleasure to endorse Paul as our next party leader and I have no doubt he will be a tremendous success.

I urge UKIP members to back Paul as, under him, our party will soon be celebrating getting its country back.

[Jeffrey Titford was one of UKIPs first MEPs, serving as leader of UKIP from 2000 until 2002. He served again as interim leader in September to November 2010 following the resignation of Lord Pearson of Rannoch. When awarding Jeffery Honorary President status in 2011, Nigel Farage said: “We owe him a huge debt. He is a great gentleman. He has been the most amazing ambassador for this party.”]

 

Why I support Suzanne Evans, by Lisa Duffy

As the clear runner up in UKIP’s last leadership contest, I have had members suggest to me that the leadership should have been passed to me once the person who came top of the ballot decided that she didn’t want the job. That was very flattering, but not an avenue I have sought to pursue. Equally, a very large number of members were urging me to stand again in the new contest. I have thought long and hard about doing so, but in the end I have decided not to.

Instead, I am delighted to announce that I shall be backing Suzanne Evans to be next UKIP leader and I urge everyone who voted for me last time to do the same.

Suzanne was not able to take part in the last contest, but backed me to be leader because she shares many of my ideas about how to broaden the appeal of our party.

If we are to win seats under first-past-the-post we simply have to get away from the idea that UKIP is a party only worth voting for if you have staunchly right-wing views about most issues.

We have to be seen as the common sense, patriotic party that will back decent, law-abiding people from all walks of life. And if we want to be seen as such a party, we have to become such a party.

For starters, that means steering clear of associations with people like Donald Trump and other hardliners in the US Republican Party.

It means getting foursquare behind our NHS, but remembering what the ‘N’ stands for and therefore cracking down on health tourists from abroad who have never paid into the pot. It means becoming the party of law and order and having a strong integration policy as well as a strong immigration policy. It means cutting taxes for working people but also making sure that big corporations are no longer able to dodge their fair share of tax contributions.

I think Suzanne is best placed to lead us in this mission and am honoured to be as big a part of her team as she was of mine last time around.

Last week I made my debut on BBC’s Question Time and many UKIP members have sent very kind messages about how well I performed. After I was on Question Time, Suzanne took top-billing on the BBC This Week politics show later on the same night and also did the Party great credit and helped to broaden our appeal even more. And like me, she made her top priority the battle for Brexit.

In this contest UKIP is fortunate to have two contenders who could both lead the party well: Suzanne and Paul Nuttall. But for me, Suzanne is the person with the all-round skills – both in policy making and communicating ideas – to take UKIP to the next level. She will open the minds of new swathes of the electorate to the possibility of voting UKIP. We would be foolish as a party not to make full use of that opportunity because we will need these new segments of the electorate if we are to get over the line in our target seats at the next general election.

We will not easily forgive ourselves if we fail to get significant numbers of UKIP MPs into the House of Commons because we preferred to make a comfortable choice rather than a challenging one.

It is time for UKIP to rise to the challenge. It is time to send for Suzanne.

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