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Good Morning and Welcome
Last week, the most influential British politician of the last thirty years announced he will stand down as leader of our party.
Nigel Farage took UKIP from a small band of committed democrats on the fringes of British politics to where we are today.
Four million votes at the last general election.
The biggest delegation of UK MEPs in the European Parliament.
An elected MP at Westminster.
Representatives in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
And more importantly, he secured the British people a say on our country’s membership of the European Union for the first time in 41 years - and went on to lead us to victory.
Nigel inspired me to enter politics, he took
on the establishment and won, we got our country back.
On behalf of us all - Thank You.
Before I continue, I would also like to thank Paul Nuttall.
Paul has served UKIP with courage and conviction
since his election as an MEP in 2009 and as Deputy Leader since 2010.
I have enjoyed working with Paul in the North
West region that we both serve, as well as in the European Parliament.
He has made an immense contribution to our party, he has been one of our finest campaigners and I know, even though he is now stepping down as Deputy Leader, he will continue to play an important part in our future.
Paul, on behalf of everyone in the party – thank you for all you have done.
Just three weeks ago in our great Brexit referendum, the British people chose hope over fear. They voted for freedom, they voted for democracy, they voted for an independent Britain. They voted to Leave the EU.
Some now say there is now no place for UKIP.
The referendum has happened, the debate has been won, we should all pack our bags and go home.
Oh no. From the North to the South, from the East to the West, 17 million people voted for a new beginning, a brighter outwardly looking nation.
But they now see something different. They feel that they won the battle but not the war. Already the establishment is trying to roll back on the result.
Lawyers suggest the referendum was advisory, marches in the streets have been organised to prevent Article 50 being invoked, MPs in Parliament say they will refuse to accede to the will of the people.
And the main two political parties are filled with those who did not want Brexit.
The Tories have elected a new leader unopposed. A leader who did not campaign for Brexit, did not vote for Brexit, who does not believe in Brexit.
I did fear we might not, therefore, get the deal we want. An end to free movement, a free trade deal with Europe, a re-engagement with the wider world. But the appointment of David Davis and Liam Fox to the cabinet in the last 24 hours has given me hope. I was proud to campaign alongside them both during the referendum – and they are both true Brexiteers.
Of course, if this new government does not deliver on the wishes of the British people, if there is back-sliding or side-stepping, UKIP stands ready to hold their feet to the fire. The British people voted to leave the European Union. What the British people voted for – the British people must get.
There is another reason why Brexit won.
Project Fear failed.
It failed because many of us knew the government would resort to such dire politics.
But it also failed across so much of our country because people can only fear something if they have something to lose.
So much of our country has now been left behind by the metropolitan elites and a coalition of the comfortable.
Millions of people up and down our nation have no stake in this country as this country has not invested in them.
It has left them on lower wages, poor schools, long waiting lists at hospitals and calls them stupid, racist and ignorant when they express valid concerns about the direction we are heading.
The Labour Party once believed it championed those workers. But decades of being run by champagne socialists, metropolitan, out-of-touch, liberal elitists from their multi-million pound Islington town houses has seen Labour abandon its working class base.
It is now imploding before our very eyes.
Labour MPs – bar a few notable and honourable exceptions – voted in their droves to remain in an anti-democratic, corporatist European cartel while most of their die hard supporters voted to leave.
Never before has the Labour Party been so distant
from the views of their once loyal base.
They supported an expensive members club in Brussels that sneers upon the ordinary man and woman and whose policies have abandoned a whole generation of young people in Southern Europe while overseeing a catastrophic flow of migration across the continent that has placed untold strain on public services, quality of life and the prosperity of our nation.
UKIP did not turn its back on our people. We
listened when immigration concerns were raised and did not call those who raised them bigots.
We are proud of our flags and our history and did not insult them.
We believe in Britain and we believe in its people.
We must not turn our backs, we must not presume
the job is done. We must now stand up and represent the millions of hardworking people in this country that have been let down by the two establishment parties – let down by the old politics.
It is our job to speak for those who have been
We must provide a voice for the millions who have been deserted by the Tories and Labour.
And that is why, today, I am launching my campaign to be the next leader of UKIP.
I want to be the person who leads our party into this new era.
I want to build on Nigel’s success and I want to enhance UKIP’s place as a major political force in Britain for the long-term.
The job will not be easy. It never was.
We must professionalise and restructure our constitution, our offices and our governing structure.
We must grow our membership through innovative methods and develop messages that resonate with a wider section of our electorate.
We must create sustainable funding streams to build on our success.
If we get this right, we will be able to take our message to all four corners of the United Kingdom.
And it is in this decade that we must make a major breakthrough at Westminster.
To old Labour voters let down by their party, I say, UKIP will give you a voice.
To the majority of Tory voters who voted Leave
but have been lumbered with continuity Cameron under Theresa May, I say – UKIP will welcome you.
We must ruthlessly go after Labour seats in
the North and the Midlands. And we must say to the 17.4 million people who voted Leave on June 23rd…
UKIP speaks for you.
We are your new home.
And while we must change and adapt to succeed,
we should not forget who we are and what unites us as a party.
UKIP believes in freedom... we are a party
that believes we only succeed as a nation when we all succeed together - from the landscape gardener to landed gentry.
We are a party that doesn’t shy away from talking
about the big issues we face as a country, but rather a party which tackles them head on.
We are a party which seeks to provide a voice
to the vulnerable and for those at the bottom of the economic ladder, and we are the party that will speak for the aspirations of hardworking Britons.
We are a party that believes GDP and our economic output are not the only way of measuring our success as a nation - but rather our quality of life, access to vital services and our identity.
Let me tell you, as your leader, I will not
shy away from the big issues we face as a nation.
I will challenge them head on, present a credible case and fight for the right change this country needs.
While we must challenge Labour in the north, we have to be a party that speaks for the whole of Britain, not just a narrow section of society. Just as the issues of the European Union and immigration were once ignored or derided and now accepted as mainstream, we must deal with another issue that is talked about, discussed, but never dealt with.
We must deal with the growing lack of social
mobility in our society.
From housing to education, jobs to health, life expectancy to mental health provision, our country is becoming more divided.
This division is shown in the attitude of so many of the coalition of the comfortable who voted remain with their insults to the old, poor or so called less educated.
So many of them have forgotten they have inbuilt advantages from birth or background. I haven’t - and as leader of this party I will develop policies that embrace our whole nation and ensure social
mobility is put truly at the forefront of British politics once more.
During the six years I’ve been a member of
this party, I have trawled the streets alongside many of you, from Belfast to Basingstoke, from Wales to Wembley. I know what it takes to get out our message, street by street, door by door, speech by speech.
During that time, I worked for our party members
on the National Executive Committee and served as your spokesman on finance and economics.
For the past two years, I’ve been working as
your North West MEP and migration spokesman - during which time I ensured that our migration policy at the general election was the most fair and ethical of all the political parties.
A policy in which we are fair to people of
all races and from all four corners of the globe – stopping uncontrolled immigration from the EU, controlling overall numbers, while welcoming people with valuable skills from all over the world.
In UKIP, we will champion a new migration policy,
controlled by elected Britons and based on merit, not on race, religion, colour or creed – a policy that is as fair to my black American grandfather as it is my Irish grandmother or Jewish grandmother.
My leadership will draw upon my twenty years’ experience as a lawyer from criminal barrister to general counsel to major financial institutions.
As someone who was born on a council estate
in Manchester, now speaking about why I want to be the next leader of the UK’s third national party, I am so proud of what this country has given me.
I am living proof of our own ‘British dream’ - the chance to succeed in life, no matter your postcode, your gender or the colour of your skin.
But if we as a nation carry on this same path, we are endangering the very same dream that my daughter’s generation will aspire to: the ability to own your own home and to compete on a level playing field in an increasingly competitive world where our media, sport and politics are dominated by a privileged few.
I love my country and it’s people, but we must
speak up when we are heading in the wrong direction.
Brexit gives us the opportunity to build a better Britain.
UKIP is a force for good in British politics, and now it needs a leader to take our party forward. I will now seek to persuade my parties members that I am that person.
I want our nation to grow and be inspired in the 21st century, be outward looking and thrive on the great opportunities across the globe.
I want our nations growth and prosperity to be shared by all our citizens, those in the council estates I campaigned on and the market towns I visited during the referendum campaign, not just our urban centres.
There should be no one left behind, no one without a stake.
It’s all our Kingdom, one United Kingdom.
And I want to lead UKIP to make sure our Brexit future is a new era for free Britain.
Thank you very much.