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New UKIP leader is Henry Bolton from Kent

30 September 2017

Ukip has narrowly avoided a shift towards the far right after its members elected the relatively unknown former soldier Henry Bolton as its new leader, just beating a populist anti-Islam candidate.

The U.K. Independent Party on Friday elected Henry Bolton as its new leader after Paul Nuttall stepped down in June.

Phil Hornby spent the day on the English Riviera, and watched the build-up to an unexpected result.

Steven Woolfe withdrew from the second contest after he was allegedly punched in the face by a fellow Ukip MEP in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, later describing the party as "ungovernable".

The former Army officer told the party's conference in Torquay that "Brexit is our core task, however it is not the end of the line" and signalled a softening of Ukip's message on Islam.

Amid reports that 18 of its 20 MEPs would tear up their membership if she won, Farage had warned Ukip that would be "finished" if it became anti-Islam. I do not see myself as being your leader, I see myself as serving this party.

Mr Bolton did not join UKIP until 2014, but quickly made an impression by becoming its candidate in Kent in the 2016 Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

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His election will be met with a sigh of relief by many of Ukip's top command.

"The other thing is, I do not believe for a moment that we should be pushing this out and allowing the negotiations to be endless before we leave".

Ending his speech, he said: "Whilst brexit is our core task, that greater goal which is ongoing beyond the time that we leave the European Union - that is our core objective".

Asked if he would "ban the burka", Mr Bolton said: "I don't think it's about banning the burka, is it?" He said Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative-led government had so far failed to deliver on the Brexit mandate that voters wanted.

The party has been riven by splits and disagreements, one of which resulted in MEP Steven Woolfe being taken to hospital after a fight with another Ukip MEP.

But he resigned just eight months later after a disastrous General Election.

New UKIP leader is Henry Bolton from Kent