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The Leader of the UK Independence Party is the most senior member of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), a political party founded on 3 September 1993. The party's first leader was its founder, the historian Alan Sked, who resigned in May 1997. Its longest-serving leader was Nigel Farage, from September 2006 to November 2009 and again from November 2010 to September 2016.

Leader of the UK Independence Party
Term lengthFour years
Inaugural holderAlan Sked
Formation3 September 1993

The party's current leader is Richard Braine. He replaced interim leader, Piers Wauchope, who was elected by the party's National Executive Committee on 11 June 2019 after Gerard Batten's leadership term ended on 2 June.



All registered political parties in the United Kingdom require a leader, under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. According to Part VII of the UK Independence Party constitution, the party leader is voted for by postal ballot by all paid-up party members "in good standing". The winner is the candidate with the simple majority of votes cast. If there is only one valid candidate for the position, they are elected without the need for a ballot.[1]

While the default term length is four years, the leader can obtain an extension of up to a year if there is an imminent General or European Parliament election; this must be approved by at least two-thirds of the 12-person National Executive Committee (NEC).[1]

If at least nine NEC members endorse a vote of no confidence in the leader, an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) will be called.[1] When the leadership becomes vacant unexpectedly, the NEC has fourteen days to name an interim leader who exercises all leadership functions until the next leadership election.[1]

The leader has the power to name a Deputy Leader of their own choice and assign them whatever duty they choose.[1]


Nigel Farage led UKIP from 2006 to 2009 and from 2010 to 2016

Eurosceptic historian Alan Sked founded the UK Independence Party on 3 September 1993, having established the Anti-Federalist League organisation two years earlier. He resigned after the 1997 general election and was replaced by Michael Holmes, who became one of its first three Members of the European Parliament in the 1999 election. He was voted out by the party's National Executive Committee in January 2000 after the party split into two camps, one backing him and the other supporting chairman Nigel Farage, also an MEP.[2] Jeffrey Titford was succeeded in October 2002 by Roger Knapman, a former Conservative whip. Under his leadership, UKIP took 16.2% of the votes and 12 seats at the 2004 European Parliament elections, and he chose not to run for a second term in 2006.[3]

The ensuing leadership election resulted in Farage winning the post; he pledged to expand UKIP from a single-issue party into one that would fill the "enormous vacuum in British politics" by picking up votes from former Conservatives.[4] In late 2009, he resigned in order to concentrate on winning the House of Commons seat of Buckingham from the Speaker, John Bercow.[5] Malcolm Pearson, Baron Pearson of Rannoch was subsequently elected leader; he resigned within a year and Farage was re-elected with 60% of votes cast.[6] Under Farage, UKIP had its greatest success in 2014 when it won the most votes and seats in the European Parliament election, the first party outside Labour and the Conservatives to do so in a national election since the Liberal Party in the December 1910 general election.[7]

Since the British public voted to leave the European Union in the June 2016 referendum, UKIP's vote share has declined and the party has had frequent changes in leadership.[8][9][10][11][12] Sked, Holmes, Farage, James, Nuttall, Crowther and Bolton have all since left the party.

List of leadersEdit

Picture Name Term Deputy
  Alan Sked 3 September 1993 – May 1997 Craig Mackinlay
  Craig Mackinlay
6 August 1997 – September 1997
  Michael Holmes September 1997 – 22 January 2000 Craig Mackinlay
  Jeffrey Titford 22 January 2000 – 5 October 2002 Graham Booth
  Roger Knapman 5 October 2002 – 12 September 2006 Mike Nattrass
  Nigel Farage[4] 12 September 200627 November 2009 David Campbell Bannerman
  The Lord Pearson of Rannoch[13] 27 November 20095 November 2010 David Campbell Bannerman
The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
  Nigel Farage[6] 5 November 201016 September 2016 Paul Nuttall
  Diane James
Elect[N 1]
16 September 2016 – 4 October 2016
  Nigel Farage[15] 5 October 2016 – 28 November 2016
  Paul Nuttall[16] 28 November 2016 – 9 June 2017 Peter Whittle[17]
  Steve Crowther[18]
9 June 2017 – 29 September 2017
  Henry Bolton[19] 29 September 2017 – 17 February 2018 Margot Parker (resigned January 2018)[20]
  Gerard Batten[21][22] 17 February 2018 – 2 June 2019[23]
Acting: 17 February 2018 – 14 April 2018
Mike Hookem[24] (resigned 24 May 2019)[25]
  Piers Wauchope
11 June 2019 – 9 August 2019
  Richard Braine 10 August 2019 – present Gerard Batten (appointment blocked by the UKIP National Executive Committee)


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Constitution". UK Independence Party. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  2. ^ "UKIP votes leaders out". BBC News. 22 January 2000. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  3. ^ Harvey, Dave (8 June 2006). "West: UKIP flower fades". BBC News. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Farage elected new UKIP leader". BBC News. 12 September 2006. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Farage to step down as Ukip leader to concentrate on ousting Speaker". Press Association. 4 September 2009. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b Sparrow, Andrew (5 November 2010). "Nigel Farage returns as Ukip leader". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  7. ^ Kirkup, James; Swinford, Steven (25 May 2014). "Ukip storms European elections". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Has the general election 2017 finished Ukip?". New Statesman. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  9. ^ Payne, Sebastian (22 January 2018). "The party might at last be over for Ukip". The Financial Times. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  10. ^ Harris, John (23 April 2018). "Ukip may have collapsed, but where it led others will follow". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  11. ^ Rathi, Akshat (9 June 2017). "The party that birthed Brexit has sunk into total oblivion". Quartz. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  12. ^ Goodwin, Matthew; Cutts, David (28 April 2017). "Why UKIP's collapse matters". Politico. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Ukip elects Lord Pearson of Rannoch as leader". The Guardian. Press Association. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  14. ^ Heather Stewart; Rowena Mason (5 October 2016). "Nigel Farage declares himself interim Ukip leader". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  15. ^ "Nigel Farage steps back in at UKIP as Diane James quits". BBC News. 5 October 2016. Archived from the original on 1 February 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  16. ^ "Paul Nuttall elected as UKIP leader". BBC News. 28 November 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  17. ^ Proctor, Kate (29 November 2016). "My appointment proves we're a diverse party, says Ukip's gay deputy leader". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  18. ^ Sharman, Jon (9 June 2017). "Election latest: Ukip appoints interim leader after Paul Nuttall's resignation". The Independent. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Who is new UKIP leader Henry Bolton?". BBC News. 29 September 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  20. ^ "UKIP crisis as top figures quit and tell leader Henry Bolton to go". Sky News. 22 January 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  21. ^ "UKIP members vote to sack embattled leader Henry Bolton". BBC News. 17 February 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  22. ^ "UKIP's leader announces plans to quit on day he is confirmed". BBC News. 14 April 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  23. ^ Batten, Gerard [@GerardBattenMEP] (2 June 2019). "My term as UKIP Leader ends today" (Tweet). Retrieved 2 June 2019 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ Young, Angus (27 February 2018). "Hull-based MEP Mike Hookem lands top interim role as deputy UKIP leader". Hull Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Hookem quits as deputy UKIP leader to run for leadership". BBC News. BBC. 24 May 2019. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  1. ^ Diane James won the September 2016 leadership election but resigned 18 days later, before officially taking office. As the relevant paperwork required by the Electoral Commission was not completed before her resignation, Nigel Farage legally remained the leader of UKIP during James's "tenure."[14]

External linksEdit