Barrister excluded from UKIP leadership contest after filing 17 minutes late
Humiliating day for profession as Woolfe outmanoeuvred by, inter alia, one-time TK Maxx store manager and Tesco supervisor
The chances of a lawyer heading up one of the UK’s three largest political parties receded today when Steven Woolfe (barrister and one-time in-house counsel for Taylor Wessing and DLA Piper) was excluded from the UKIP ballot for late submission of his nomination papers.
The decision was taken by a clear majority of NEC members, a body described by leader Nigel Farage as “total amateurs who come to London once a month with sandwiches in their rucksacks to attend meetings that last seven hours”.
Woolfe had been the favourite to win in a field perhaps best described as curious. It includes Lisa Duffy, a former TKMaxx store manager, who wants to end the abuse of the NHS by foreigners, ban Muslim schools, and claims to offer “a common sense” approach to leadership. She is supported by the sole UKIP MP Duncan Carswell.
Then there is the new favourite Diane James, most famous for admiring Putin and slagging off Romanians. And, topping the lot, ex-wrestler and Tesco supervisor Philip Broughton who is just plain odd. See video below:
The exclusion has triggered the now almost inevitable civil war within a political party. Three members of the National Executive resigned immediately muttering about “escalating megalomania”. A UKIP MEP, Tim Aker, said, darkly, “this isn’t over”. And main donor Arron Banks tweeted about a “Hamilton/Carswell coup” before telling Sky News that he may split the party.
I am appalled that Steven Woolfe has not been put on the UKIP leadership ballot. This isn't over.
— Tim Aker MEP (@Tim_Aker) August 3, 2016
Meanwhile, Nigel Farage lurks in the background, pint in hand, plotting his next move.