Ukip’s new leader Paul Nuttall has said he will “promote the English” and pursue more devolution for England in an appeal to disaffected working-class voters in Labour’s northern heartlands.
Mr Nuttall, 39, said Ukip under his leadership would “replace” Labour after he was elected by a landslide as Nigel Farage’s successor.
The Merseyside-born former history lecturer has called for Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs to be removed from the House of Commons to make it an English parliament, with the House of Lords turned into a UK-wide senate. He has called for the abolition of the Barnett Formula that calculates devolved funding.
“Whilst we as a party believe in the United Kingdom and are unionist to our fingertips, under my leadership we will champion a fair devolution deal for England and we will promote the English,” Mr Nuttall said in a speech after being named the new leader.
“I say this because there is a value that unites the vast majority of British people away from the small metropolitan clique, and that value is patriotism.”
Mr Nuttall, the North-West England MEP, took 62.6% of the vote. The new leader vowed to unite Ukip and “hold the Government’s feet to the fire” over the delivery of Brexit.
And he made clear his sights are on poaching votes from Labour, arguing that the party under Jeremy Corbyn was more interested in “dinner party” topics like climate change and fair trade than the interests of their working class voters, such as immigration and social mobility.
Mr Nuttall added: “My ambition is not insignificant. I want to replace the Labour party and make Ukip the patriotic voice of working people.”
He dismissed suggestions that his party had fulfilled its mission in securing a Leave vote in June’s EU referendum, saying a strong Ukip was needed to stop Theresa May imposing “some mealy-mouthed, backsliding version” of Brexit.
Mr Farage promised not to be “a back seat driver” but offered his support. Following calls from US president-elect Donald Trump for the outgoing Ukip leader to become UK ambassador, he said he was “going off to the USA - but, you will understand, purely as a tourist”.