Ukip: A timeline of the party's turbulent history

Ukip: A timeline of the party's turbulent history

Instead, somewhat surprisingly, the party members went for a former Liberal Democrat.

Based in Folkestone, the former soldier and police officer was considered to be a front-runner in the contest and had seen the odds on him winning fall dramatically in recent weeks.

Henry Bolton has already stressed he will seek to unite Ukip after defeating a candidate whose description of Islam as "evil" had threatened to split the party.

Ukip's new leader will set out his vision for how the party aims to re-establish itself as an electoral force on Saturday after his shock victory in the race to succeed Paul Nuttall.

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In a shock victory, the former solider beat anti-Islam campaigner Anne-Marie Waters with nearly 30 per cent of the vote.

Bolton said he would "have a conversation" with Farage on a future Ukip role, and wanted to talk to all the other candidates, including Waters, before making decisions about them.

The election took place at the party's annual conference in Torquay, with 12,915 party members casting their ballot.

Bolton, an infantry officer who also served in the police, was elected the UK Independence Party's fourth leader in a year with 3874 votes, 30 per cent of the total.

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Under his leadership, the party will continue to position itself as a bulwark against a "soft" Brexit and to cry betrayal at any move away from a complete severing of connections with the European Union. He added: "I think the party has today voted for a leader who has been very open about what he feels is the way forward, and that's myself of course".

Speaking immediately after the announcement, Bolton said pressuring Theresa May's government into a hard Brexit will be UKIP's "core task" under his stewardship. BBC political correspondent Ben Wright said Mr Bolton would be seen as the continuity candidate.

The Ukip leadership election was called following the resignation of Paul Nuttall in the wake of the party's disastrous showing at the 2017 election. "I absolutely abhor the rhetoric that says we are at war with Islam, or anything that indicates such", he said.

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