Diane James replaces Farage as head of Britain's UKIP

Diane James replaces Farage as head of Britain's UKIP

Britain's right-wing U.K. Independence Party has chosen European Parliament member Diane James as its leader, replacing the charismatic but divisive Nigel Farage.

She also indicated that she wants to put the internal bickering aside behind and focus on improving the party's electoral fortunes. "It's been a great result and I think the future for UKIP is fantastic", he said.

Although Mr Farage did not officially endorse any candidate during the contest, it was clear that he was keen for Ms James to take over.

Ms James went on to enjoy greater electoral success the following year, when she was elected to the European Parliament as MEP for South East England - a position she still holds today.

"I wish them the very best of luck and my job is not to meddle".

"Diane is probably more steely than Nigel".

PinkNews reported last week that Ms James appeared to be trying to play both sides in the election - telling the party's LGBT group that she'd support equality while telling Christian campaigners she would push to weaken equality laws.

Mr Farage said the referendum victory was like a "fairytale that had come true".

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James said she wanted to professionalize the party, whose colourful and sometimes controversial members have in recent years provided Britain's tabloid newspapers with a litany of scandals and gaffes.

A former business analyst with a long career the healthcare sector, James has pledged to ensure the government delivers an exit from the European Union that meets the demands of UKIP voters: namely tighter immigration controls and more free trade.

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. She has since joined the Conservatives, where she argues many of her one-time fellow Ukippers are now active too.

After the referendum result, Farage said he would step down as leader, and has since lent his experience of leading a popular political uprising to United States presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign.

With Brexit on the horizon, UKIP can not survive unless it broadens its platform beyond Europe, even though Diane James based her leadership campaign on this topic.

If she succeeds, James will have to contend with a party riven by infighting between various factions, including Farage loyalists, a circle around the former Conservative cabinet minister Neil Hamilton, and others close to Douglas Carswell, the party's only MP.

She promised to unify UKIP and turn a sometimes shambolic operation into "a winning political machine". Even though the party successfully broadened its horizons in recent years, many believe it peaked at Brexit.

Earlier, Farage used his final speech as leader of the UKIP to demand that his successor pushes for a "hard" European Union exit that meets the demands of his party's voters.