Who is mad enough to lead Ukip?

The party of 'fruitcakes' is in need of direction. Andrew Johnson and Matt Chorley assess who is one slice short of a serious leadership bid

He could be the prize fighter the ailing political party needs. The boxing promoter Frank Maloney – best known for managing British ex-world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis – is preparing to enter the ring in the battle to lead the UK Independence Party.

It would be another surprise twist in the history of the arch-Eurosceptic party, which has seen one of its MEPs jailed and its most successful leader narrowly escape death in an air crash.

The most recent leader, Lord Pearson, quit this month after less than a year at the helm, saying he was "not much good at party politics". During the general election campaign he admitted he did not know his own manifesto, yet the party still won almost one million votes. Last year during European Parliament elections, one in six voters backed Ukip, securing 13 MEPs, second only to the Tories.

As the party prepares for its annual conference in Torquay, one insider said the gathering was likely to turn into a "beauty pageant", with at least seven potential leadership contenders.

Mr Maloney, 56, a street-smart south Londoner, will possibly be taking on Barbara Cartland's grandson, a professor of economics and the inventor of a million-pound puzzle contest. Nigel Farage, the former leader who resigned last year to run against the Speaker, John Bercow, has yet to decide if he will stand again. He is still recovering from serious back injuries he got in a plane crash on polling day.

Mr Maloney also said he was in the process of deciding whether to run. "I'm thinking about it," he said yesterday. "Ukip needs to modernise and it needs the leadership to bring it into the modern world and to modernise its image.

"The majority of people see us as cast-away Tories or old English. I don't think that's the case. I'm not an ex-Tory and I'm not old English, but I am patriotic. If Ukip makes the wrong decision now, it will stagnate and simply become a party of protest."

In 2006, David Cameron branded Ukip members "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly". At the time Mr Farage said: "I don't mind him calling us loonies. I don't mind him calling us fruitcakes. But what you cannot do in the 21st century is to lob about accusations of racism."

David Campbell Bannerman

The former Tory is a descendant of the Liberal prime minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. He is the deputy leader of Ukip and intends to stand for the leadership. "It's overwhelmingly clear now that trusting Cameron with Europe will be as misguided as trusting Blair on Iraq."

Fruit cake factor out of five: 1 stars

Christopher Monckton

Described by his own party as "mad, bad and dangerous, our own Lord Byron", he is a viscount, a former journalist, Dominic Lawson’s brother-in-law and inventor of the Eternity puzzle. "This might be talking heresy, but I consider myself a happy European."

Fruit cake factor: 5 stars

Gerard Batten

Ukip's London MEP helped to found the party in 1993 and came second in the 2009 leadership contest. He intends to stand again this year. "I'm an unconditional withdrawalist. That's what the members want to hear. Why should we put up with a government voted for by Latvians?"

Fruit cake factor: 3 stars

William, Earl of Dartmouth

Barbara Cartland was his granny and Princess Diana his stepsister. "When people ask will Britain leave the European Union, I respond with just three words. Yes, we will."

Fruit cake factor: 3 stars

Nigel Farage

The former leader is the bookies' favourite. He believes the party should fight on a wider platform than just Europe, pointing to a "massive vacuum in British politics".

Fruit cake factor: 1 stars

Frank Maloney

The boxing promoter ran in the 2004 London mayoral elections. He is said to have refused to campaign in Camden because it contained too many gays. "I don't want to campaign around gays. I don't think they do a lot for society. What I have a problem with is them openly flaunting their sexuality."

Fruit cake factor: 4 stars

Professor Tim Congdon CBE

The Oxford-educated economist advised the Tories on economic policy during much of John Major’s rule. "Like the Soviet Union before it, the European Union is undemocratic, and in time it too will collapse."

Fruit cake factor: 3 stars

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments