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Diane James favourite to be named Ukip leader at party conference

Britain's UKIP announces its new leader on Friday, though the contest to replace charismatic figurehead Nigel Farage has divided the anti-EU party. "If we are going to reach and achieve the goals this party is still capable of achieving, then change is going to have to happen", she added.

In her tell-all interview with the BBC, Farage's ex-aide Phillips recounted how the one-time UKIP chief had spent his final months at the helm of the party "trying to relive his days of the 1980s in the City", surrounded by "lads" and drinking.

But she admitted Mr Farage would offer "help" and said she would be "absolutely nuts" to ignore it.

In the aftermath of internal party fights she made a plea for unity, telling the conference hall to support her, work with her and "make Ukip the winning machine it will become". "He is very nationalist".

Her sister and campaign manager, Sandra James, sums up the new leader as a "very committed, hardworking individual", while a former media adviser, Clive Page, says she is someone who is "a quick learner, who doesn't tolerate fools".

James, UKIP deputy chairman and its spokeswoman on justice and home affairs, was the clear favorite with bookmakers to win the contest.

Asked if he meant Neil Hamilton, Mr Farage said the Tory defector had not been his "first choice".

Delivering a speech after the announcement, James stressed the importance of leaving the EU. ITV News reported that his slot had been given to his arch-rival Nathan Gill, the party's overall leader in Wales.

In the running along with Diane James, who recently remarked she would not be "Nigel-like or Nigel-lite" if elected, are Ramsey councilor Lisa Duffy, West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, Elizabeth Jones and Philip Broughton.

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Mr. Wolfe - an ally of Nigel Farage - was blocked from running as UKIP leader after an anti-Farage block in the National Executive Committee (NEC) claimed his application was late.

Allies of Farage, including the influential donor and Brexit campaigner Arron Banks, backed James.

Smiling broadly, he went on: "So I am going to be engaged in political life without leading a political party, and it is going to leave me freer, it's going to leave me less constrained".

Nevertheless, UKIP remains a potent force in British politics.

"That's what independence means" she warned "Remainiacs".

However, her answers flew in the face of those she gave in a separate Q&A; with the group "Christian Action UKIP", which was set up by "gay cure" UKIP candidate Alan Craig.

Nonetheless, UKIP is hoping to consolidate its popularity on the back of Brexit, boost its tally of MPs in the next general election slated for 2020, and replace a wobbling Labour Party as the official opposition.

"I'm optimistic that things will go well: I think that she has good traditional values and that's the main reason I voted for her", she said.

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