Nigel Farage's successor as leader to be unveiled at Ukip gathering


Nigel Farage's successor as leader of Ukip will be unveiled as the party gathers for its annual conference.

Five candidates are vying to take over control of the Eurosceptics but their limited public profiles mean they may struggle to replicate the impact of the outgoing leader.

Ukip's victory in the European Union referendum has failed to sooth the deep divisions at the heart of the party.

Mr Farage and Ukip's only MP Douglas Carswell have done little to disguise their contempt for each other and the new leader will face a battle to reunite the party and keep it relevant now that voters have backed Brexit.

Frontrunner Diane James, the most well-known of the contenders, has refused to set out any policies during the contest saying she did not want to make "policy on the hoof".

The home affairs spokesman has been criticised for failing to attend the hustings, choosing instead to conduct her own events.

She has insisted Mr Farage has a "role still to play" in the party but said she will not be "Nigel-like or Nigel-lite".

Lisa Duffy, Bill Etheridge, Elizabeth Jones and Phillip Broughton are all also hoping to take the leadership.

Former party general secretary Jonathan Arnott dropped out of the race in August saying the best he could hope for was second place.

The contest was sparked by Mr Farage's resignation following the June referendum vote for Britain to leave the European Union.

It is not the first time he has quit the top job.

Mr Farage stood down in 2009 to challenge Commons Speaker John Bercow at the general election the following year.

He failed to become an MP and was reinstalled as Ukip leader.

After failing to win a seat at the 2015 general election he quit again but soon announced he was carrying on saying he "owed it to the party to stay".

Mr Farage has not ruled out returning as leader if Brexit is not delivered.

The leadership contest descended into chaos when rows over the rules meant that some of the party's best known figures were blocked from standing.

The ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) said all candidates must have been a member of the party for at least five years. It meant Mr Carswell and fellow Conservative defector Mark Reckless were not able to enter the contest.

Suzanne Evans, who was given a six month suspension from the party in March, wanted to run but said a "handful of people at the top" had ensured she could not.

Migration spokesman Steven Woolfe was widely expected to take the party's job but his application was rejected by the NEC after it was submitted 17 minutes past the deadline.

The MEP blamed technical difficulties for the delay and supporters claimed he had been the victim of a coup led by Mr Carswell and his allies.