New Ukip leader Diane James names Thatcher, Churchill and Putin as her political heroes

Diane James says Vladamir Putin is a 'strong leader'

Harriet Agerholm@HarrietAgerholm
Sunday 18 September 2016 16:53
UKIP leader Diane James reveals her political heroes

The new Ukip leader Diane James has said that Vladamir Putin is one of her political heroes, alongside Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

Ms James was asked: “Other than Vladimir Putin, who is your main political hero?” She replied that both Mr Churchil and Ms Thatcher were.

She then confirmed the list of the three politicians - including Mr Putin - was an accurate rundown of the figures she most admired.

Ms James's admission follows a 2015 interview where she called the Russian President a “strong leader”.

She said: “I admire [Mr Putin] from the point of view that he’s standing up for his country.”

When questioned about whether she respected his invasion of other countries, she said: "No, no. He's standing up for his country. He's very nationalistic."

UKIP leader Diane James tells LBC why she admires Vladimir Putin

Harriet Harman challenged her, pointing out that Idi Amin, a despotic Ugandan leader responsible for mass killings and human rights abuses, could be praised in a similar way.

Ms James’s first interview as leader of the party came as Russia headed to the polls, in an election expected to grant Mr Putin another five years in office.

Other politicians who have announced their respect for the controversial leader include the former leader of the SNP Alex Salmond, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage and US Presidential hopeful, Donald Trump.

In 2014, Mr Farage named Mr Putin as the world leader he most admired. He praised the Russian President’s “brilliant” handling of the civil war in Syria, although said he did not admire him as a human being.

Mr Trump has repeatedly praised the Russian ruler, saying he was “doing a great job” at “rebuilding Russia” and claiming: “I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin.”

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