Paul NuttallMatt Cardy/GettyPaul Nuttall.

Paul Nuttall is the new leader of the UK Independence Party after officially being elected to succeed Nigel Farage on Monday morning.

The Merseyside-born MEP and former deputy to Farage defeated Suzanne Evans and John Rees-Evans to win the leadership contest, the party’s chairman Paul Oakden announced in Westminster, central London.

Nuttall, who entered the contest as the firm favourite with years of experience of serving UKIP in various roles, has vowed to replace Labour as the official opposition and become the “patriotic voice of working people.”

Oakden, who will continue to serve as the party’s chairman, announced that 15,405 votes were cast in the contest.

This how the vote broke down:

Paul NUTTALL: 62.6%

Suzanne EVANS: 19.3%

Jonathan REES-EVANS: 18.1%

The leadership election was the second in the space of just three months. Diane James was elected to replace Farage in September, only to stand down 18 days later and eventually quit the party altogether. Steven Woolfe, who was the clear front-runner to fill the vacancy, quit the party after allegedly being punched during a physical confrontation with fellow MP Mike Hookem.

Farage had remained the party’s interim leader throughout this turmoil until officially passing the baton on to Nuttall on Monday. London Assembly member Peter Whittle and Farage aide Raheem Kassam both dropped out of the race prior to today’s announcement, with the former endorsing Nuttall as the right person to lead the anti-EU party.

In a speech that he delivered prior to the result being announced, Farage praised the progress that UKIP has made in recent years. He said: “We have shifted the centre of gravity of British politics — it is quite some achievement.” Douglas Carswell, the party’s sole MP, also attended.

This is a developing story…

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