Putin, Churchill and Thatcher are new Ukip leader's political heroes


Ukip's new leader has revealed her political heroes are Vladimir Putin, Margaret Thatcher and Sir Winston Churchill.

Diane James was asked on BBC One's Sunday Politics who, "other than Vladimir Putin", were her political heroes, and she named the two former British prime ministers.

When asked to confirm whether her heroes were "Putin, Churchill and Thatcher", she replied in the affirmative.

The questioning stemmed from a 2015 interview in which Ms James described the Russian president as "a strong leader" who stands up for his country.

Mr Putin has attracted international criticism after the Russian annexation of Crimea, incursion into Ukraine and his support for the brutal Bashar Assad regime in Syria.

But Ms James said in the 2015 interview: "Nigel (Farage) went on record saying if you provoke the Russian bear you get a reaction.

"I admire him from the point of view that he's standing up for his country. He is very nationalist.

"He is a very strong leader. He is putting Russia first, and he has issues with the way the EU encouraged a change of government in the Ukraine which he felt put at risk a Russian population in that country."

Ms James won the race to succeed Mr Farage as Ukip leader on Friday, taking the top job with 8,451 votes.