London Assembly member Peter Whittle is the latest high-profile member to announce he is to stand as leader of the UK Independence Party.
Mr Whittle, 55, is a former journalist and was the party’s London Mayoral candidate this year, coming fifth with 94,373 votes, and was the only LGBT candidate on the ballot. On the same day, he and fellow UKIP member David Kurten were elected onto the London Assembly, which scrutinises the activities of the London Mayor (Labour’s Sadiq Khan).
On his Facebook page, Mr Whittle said:
“Today I am pleased to announce my intention to stand for the position of UKIP Leader in the forthcoming election.
As the Leader of UKIP’s Group on the London Assembly, the Party’s former London Mayoral candidate and having served as a Party Spokesman for three years I would now consider it an honour and privilege to lead UKIP, a Party that is setting the agenda for British politics.
Certainly we are facing challenges at the moment but these are dwarfed by the great opportunities in front of us. I am confident that not only will I be able to stabilise the Party but can take it on to even greater heights.
I believe UKIP has a crucial role to ensure what was voted for on June 23rd is delivered by the Government. But it also has a duty to speak for those that the other parties, most notably the Labour Party, do not.
Over the next few days and weeks I look forward to outlining in more detail what my prospectus for UKIP voters in this leadership election will be, but also what my policy platform for the Party would look like if I were successfully elected Leader.”
Mr Whittle previously supported Steven Woolfe MEP in his bid to become UKIP leader in the summer, before Mr Woolfe’s application was blocked by the party’s National Executive Committee. Mr Whittle joins Mr Woolfe, former UKIP senior advisor Raheem Kassam and West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge in the race to replace Diane James MEP, who decided not to take-up the post of leader just 18 days after being elected.
There is no further news into the investigation the party is conducting regarding the altercation between Mr Woolfe and Mike Hookem MEP. In a column written for iNews.co.uk, interim leader Nigel Farage MEP described the investigation as “ongoing”, and, referring to his current role in-between leadership elections, dubbed himself “the escapee who has been recaptured.”
A spokeswoman for Steven Woolfe MEP told NMC Europe that Mr Woolfe is recuperating in Brussels, where he owns a flat.