Former Conservative minister Neil Hamilton has been elected leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
He has been interim leader since September 2020, replacing Freddy Vachha, suspended from the party.
Hamilton represented UKIP in the Welsh parliament for five years before losing his seat in the 2021 election.
Before joining the party in 2011, he was a Conservative MP for Tatton and minister in the John Major cabinet from 1992 to 1994.
However, he lost his post in 1997 following allegations of accepting money in exchange for questions in Parliament.
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Mr. Hamilton takes over at a difficult time for UKIP. The pro-Brexit party was successful in its long campaign for the UK’s exit from the EU, but has since fought in the elections.
In 2019, his former leader Nigel Farage split from UKIP and founded the Brexit Party – now called Reform UK – bringing with him many of his former members and supporters.
Since Farage stepped down as leader in 2016, the party has had seven leaders including Henry Bolton and Diane James.
In a message to supporters earlier this year, Hamilton acknowledged that the recent election results were “disappointing”, but added “we must remember that UKIP is on the road to recovery and, after years of mismanagement, this process will not happen overnight “.
“Now is the time to regroup, learn lessons and make the necessary preparations for future elections: we must ensure that UKIP is the patriotic and common sense alternative for the workers.”
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