With the short priced favourite, Steven Woolfe, now out of the running after missing the nomination deadline by a reported 17 minutes, candidate Diane James has taken his place as the 1/3 odds-on favourite to replace Nigel Farage.
A UKIP party spokesperson said of the decision: “By a clear majority of NEC members Steven Woolfe MEP’s application was considered to be ineligible as a result of a late submission and as such he did not meet the eligibility criteria. His membership of the party was not in question.”
Woolfe became an MEP for the North West in 2014 and was considered the strong frontrunner to replace the outgoing Farage. James meanwhile is MEP for South East England and entered politics after a 30 year career in the field of healthcare.
Questions have been raised about her candidacy after two remarks in 2015. In addition to stating she was ‘not at all interested’ in succeeding Farage, she somewhat controversially praised Vladimir Putin saying: ““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.”
A week is a long time in politics of course, and a year an eternity, and yesterday Ms.James announced that she would be standing with the following statement: “I will lead Ukip to ensure that we have a laser focus on how the government is implementing its ‘Brexit means Brexit’ promises, so that we can control both our own borders and negotiate quality bi-lateral trade deals.
“I will build upon the phenomenal achievements of Nigel Farage in ensuring that Ukip engages with voters who feel left behind and disconnected from our democratic process.”
Naomi Totten, Public Relations Manager at Betfair, said: “Steven Woolfe has attracted a huge amount of support in the market and was being backed as short as 1/8 before missing the nomination deadline by 17 minutes.
“Diane James had been second in the market but her price has unsurprisingly plummeted to odds-on favourite since the party decided that Steven Woolfe would not be allowed on the ballot however he remains a 6/1 shot as there is still a chance that the decision could be overturned.”