Paul Nuttall has become UKIP’s new leader, after beating former Deputy Chairwoman Suzanne Evans and ex-soldier John Rees-Evans in the leadership election this past Monday. He will be replacing infamous Nigel Farage, who was running the party on an interim basis following the resignation of Diane James.
Having won almost 63% of the votes among party members, Nuttall has inherited a divided party and the responsibility to keep UKIP relevant within British politics following the Brexit vote.
But who is he? And what does he stand for?
The 40 year-old had served as Farage’s Deputy Leader for 6 years before becoming the ninth leader since the party’s formation in 1993. However, he has been part of UKIP for 12 years.
Born in Bootle, Merseyside, Nuttall gained a MA in Edwardian politics at Liverpool Hope University after having achieved a higher qualification in Sports Science. He was a History lecturer before becoming a Member of the European Parliament for North West England. Having played football in the Tranmere Rovers youth squad, he founded the party’s youth wing.
Four months prior to the election, Mr Nuttall said he had no plans to run for the leadership. Now as UKIP’s new leader, he pledges to unify the party and open up the path for “a real Brexit”. Nutall supporters believe in the idea that he would be the most likely candidate to capitalise on Labour supporters who voted leave in the July referendum.
Mr. Nuttall has revealed he wants to “make UKIP the patriotic voice of working people”. He stated UKIP will be focusing on issues like immigration, crime, defence and foreign aid, claiming that these were most relevant to the working classes.
The MEP has strong views on crime. He agrees to a referendum on the death penalty for child abusers and opposes abortion. He also supports the privatisation of some parts of the NHS. In 2014, he was reported to be a climate change denier and openly commends Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy.
Paul Nuttall has since Monday appointed Peter Whittle as his Deputy, and offered Nigel Farage joint honorary presidency.
After the election result, Nigel Farage told City Beat he was pleased to be out of the leadership and he believed the right person had got it.
Mr Nuttall claims UKIP “will put the Great back into Britain”. The party has been under increasing pressure following the EU referendum. Bringing back stability to the party will be his main challenge.