Paul Nuttall wins Ukip leadership and aims to ‘replace’ Labour
Northern Labour MPs are getting worried about the shaven-headed Scouser.
Ukip’s former deputy leader Paul Nuttall has set his sights on Labour supporters after easily winning the party’s leadership race with 62.6% of the vote.
The north west England MEP saw off competition from Suzanne Evans and John Rees-Evans, who is best known in Westminster for his past comments that a gay donkey tried to rape his horse.
He immediately appointed three men to his top team, with Peter Whittle getting deputy leader and Paul Oakden becoming party chairman. Nuttall announced that his chief political adviser would be Patrick O’Flynn.
Nuttall is a long-time ally of Nigel Farage who has called for a referendum on whether abortion should be permitted.
In his first address as leader, Nuttall echoed Donald Trump.
He said: “Donald Trump spoke about making America great again. Under my leadership we will ensure that this country gets the Brexit that it voted for on June 23rd and then we will put the great back into Great Britain.”
He then sent out a warning to those in Ukip, such as Douglas Carswell, who might not want to sign up to his hardline vision.
“Those in the party who want to come together and unite, I say we have a great and successful future. To those who do not want to unify, who want to continue fighting the battles of the past, then I’m afraid that your time in Ukip is coming to an end.”
Nuttall - state school educated and from Bootle in Liverpool - also made it clear that his primary aim was to win votes from the Labour party. He said: “I want to replace the Labour party and make Ukip the patriotic voice of working people.”
The new leader will now make a concerted effort to woo disillusioned northern Labour voters by painting Jeremy Corbyn and his London-based allies as out of touch with ordinary working people.
“They are more at home talking about the issues that swirl around the Islington dinner party than the issues that matter in working class communities,” said Nuttall today.
It comes as northern Labour MPs have suggested that the new Ukip leader represents a clear danger to their chances of returning to Westminster after the next general election.
One Labour MP told PoliticsHome: "It's always been the big fear, that Ukip would end up being led by someone like Nuttall, a northerner from a working class background.
"He isn't exactly JFK, but he does represent a clear and present danger to Labour in the north of England, particularly at a time when we are haemorrhaging so many white, working class votes.”
In its official response to the Ukip leadership election, Labour opted to focus on Nuttall’s previous comments about the NHS.
Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator Jon Trickett said: “You only need to know one thing about UKIP’s new leader, Paul Nuttall: he wants privatisation in the NHS. Paul Nuttall has welcomed privatisation of the health service, arguing that the “very existence of the NHS stifles competition”. By electing Paul Nuttall as their leader, UKIP have sent a clear message that they pose a threat to our NHS.
“It is clear that we cannot trust UKIP and Paul Nuttall with the NHS. A vote for them is a vote against the health service as we know it.”
Picture by: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images