Britain’s bookmakers say there are only two people in the race for the leadership of the UK Independence Party — UKIP.
Paul Nuttall and Steven Woolfe are the firm favourites vying for the job after Nigel Farage surprised everyone by resigning on Monday, saying: “I’ve taken the country back, now I want my life back.”
Suzanne Evans and Douglas Carswell — UKIP’s only MP — are a distant third and fourth in the odds respectively.
Here are the current odds by the main bookmakers for Nuttall and Woolfe:
- Ladbrokes: Nuttall 15/8; Woolfe 2/1
- William Hill: Nuttall 6/4; Woolfe 2/1
- Betfair: Nuttall 7/4; Woolfe 7/4
- Paddy Power: Nuttall 13/8; Woolfe 9/4
- Sky Bet: Nuttall 6/4; Woolfe 2/1
So who are these two new contenders to head one of Britain’s most controversial political parties?
Paul Nuttall, the slight favourite over Steven Wolfe, is the current deputy leader of UKIP and a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for North West England. He received strong criticism for his poor attendance record as an MEP, but quickly hit back saying:
“I treat Brussels with the contempt it deserves: it has no real democratic mandate and MEPs only exist as a pretense to make the EU look democratic, when in fact we all know it is not. I also keep abreast of what is going on out there through the work of the excellent UKIP staff.”
Although Nuttall has not laid out a direct plan for the party so soon after Farage’s resignation, he has made no secret of an overall strategy to grow UKIP, tweeting just after the Brexit vote: “We’ve left the EU. Our aim now is to replace the Labour Party in working class communities up and down the country.”
Steven Woolfe, UKIP’s “Migration & Financial Affairs Spokesman,” is also an MEP for North West England. He trained as a barrister and was appointed by Farage to handle media back in 2010.
Tax seems to be Wolfe’s big concern: he wants everyone to pay less of it. A key part of the UKIP manifesto in the last General Election was to raise the 40p tax threshold to £45,000.
He made this point to the Telegraph two years ago, saying that Britain’s middle class is “paying more on their train fares, more on their gas and energy bills and they have also been impacted by child benefit. And the question they ask themselves — is when I am going to work, how much more money is going to the government.”
As for the “migration” part of his title, Woolfe takes a hard stance on what a Brexit means, tweeting after the vote that: “British people could not be clearer. Staying in Free Movement rules would be [the] knife in face to electorate. It’s a red line.”
How long it will take UKIP to decide on its new leader is anyone’s guess, but with Labour’s current crisis and increased questions over when triggering Article 50 — the two-year notice period a country gives to leave the EU — will happen, the UK’s main anti-EU party looks like it will be sticking around for a while yet.