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UKIP's Diane James Replaces Nigel Farage as Leader

Ukip members have chosen a 56-year-old businesswoman as their leader as the party's future hangs in the balance.

A close ally of Mr Farage defected to the ruling Conservative Party on the eve of the conference, saying that Prime Minister Theresa May had delivered on key elements of the UKIP manifesto since taking office in July, and that droves of UKIP supporters were doing the same.

Noting the ripples the party has generated in British politics in recent years and its key plank, Farage said in his last speech as leader at the party conference in Bournemouth that he had given it all he had, and now wanted his life back.

Ms James had been urged to find a way to reunite the party after months of bitter divisions among its most senior figures. Together we have changed the course of British history.

Drawing comparisons with former Conservative leader David Cameron, who this week announced he was throwing in the towel and leaving the House of Commons, Farage insisted he was staying in the political arena despite having "done my bit" for UKIP.

Farage co-founded UKIP in 1993, growing it into Britain's third party by the number of votes cast.

James will be tasked with repositioning the party now that its primary goal - taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union - has been achieved.

"I guess in a sense it's been my life's work to get the party to this point", he said.

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He also quashed suggestions he might quit Ukip to join party donor Arron Banks" new "right-wing Momentum" project, provisionally titled "The People's Movement'. And she has also said she will "professionalise" the party.

In the running along with Diane James, who recently remarked she would not be "Nigel-like or Nigel-lite" if elected, are Ramsey councilor Lisa Duffy, West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, Elizabeth Jones and Philip Broughton.

After the referendum result, Farage said he would step down as leader, and has since lent his experience of leading a popular political uprising to USA presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign.

Nonetheless, UKIP is hoping to consolidate its popularity on the back of Brexit, boost its tally of MPs in the next general election slated for 2020, and replace a wobbling Labour Party as the official opposition.

After declaring to a rapturous crowd of Ukip supporters that we got our country back Farage said: Four years ago, I predicted well cause an natural disaster in British politics.

Migration spokesman Steven Woolfe was widely expected to take the party's job but his application was rejected by the NEC after it was submitted 17 minutes past the deadline.

"As I say, I will support the new leader, I'm going to continue to lead a group in the European Parliament sitting next to Mr Juncker and making my constructive contributions".

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