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09/12/2016

Labour look for leader as UKIP’s Farage faces ‘coup’

UK & Europe

Labour look for leader as UKIP’s Farage faces ‘coup’

Four candidates have put their names forward to be the new leader of the Labour party, as parties defeated in last week’s general election lick their wounds and prepare for five years in opposition.

Both the Liberal Democrats and Labour are looking for new leaders. Meanwhile the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is in disarray after leader Nigel Farage’s resignation was rejected prompting public infighting.

Ed Miliband resigned as Labour leader last week after his party won over 100 fewer seats than the Conservatives despite appearing to have a genuine chance to form a government in the run up to the vote.

The party announced yesterday (14 May) they will have a new leader in place by 12 September.

Liz Kendall, Chuka Umunna, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham have all announced their candidacy for the party leadership.

The Liberal Democrats are also looking for a new leader, with Norman Lamb and Tim Farron announcing their intentions to stand. The Lib Dems suffered a disastrous electoral defeat. After winning 56 seats in 2010 they were reduced to just eight MPs last week.

Personality cult

Despite receiving nearly four million votes, UKIP won only one seat in the House of Commons.

Leader Nigel Farage failed to win his target seat in South Thanet and subsequently resigned as leader of the party. His resignation was rejected by the party which sparked infighting.

Campaign chief Patrick O’Flynn said the party was in danger of becoming a “personality cult” calling Farage “snarling, thin-skinned and aggressive.”

His comments led party donor Arron Banks to accuse O’Flynn of trying to launch a “coup d’état”. O’Flynn later said he did not want Farage to quit as leader.

Meanwhile UKIP’s sole MP, Douglas Carswell has refused to claim up to £650,000 (about €900,000) as a minor party in the parliament to help them with policy research and maintaining the party operations.

Carswell has said he does not need the money to be MP for Clacton. He said excessive use of public funds was “not what we’re about”.

His stance has put him at odds with the party leadership who want to use the money to bolster UKIP’s national operations.

Background

David Cameron pulled off a surprise victory in the United Kingdom’s general election, putting Britain on course to hold a referendum on its membership of the European Union, and raising questions over Scotland’s future in the UK.

Polls had predicted that the Conservatives and Labour would be neck and neck, with the centre-left party in a stronger position to form a coalition government. After :Labour and the Liberal Democrats suffered defeat, both party leaders resigned.

>>Read: Brexit referendum looms after Tory election victory

Timeline

12 September: New Labour leader named