Ukip reshuffle places women in senior roles

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Nigel Farage has promoted several women to senior roles in Ukip as he tried to shed his party’s image as a “one-man band”.

Diane James, who came close to winning last year’s Eastleigh by-election, was made the party’s home affairs and justice spokeswoman. Louise Bours, a newly elected MEP who became the health spokeswoman, will refute claims by its rivals that Ukip wants to privatise the NHS.

Jane Collins, who came second in by-elections in Barnsley and Rotherham, will speak on employment; Jill Seymour will take on transport and Margot Parker small business.

Amjad Bashir, Ukip’s former business spokesman, who was fined for employing illegal immigrants, remains an MEP but was dropped as an official spokesman.

After five months as Ukip’s economic spokesman, Steven Woolfe will switch to immigration and financial affairs. The key economic job has been handed to Patrick O’Flynn, an MEP and former Daily Express political editor.

Mr Farage also used his reshuffle to try to extend the party’s appeal to working class voters. The party’s new defence spokesman is Mike Hookem, a Yorkshire MEP. Paul Nuttall, the party’s deputy leader, will speak on education.