Paul Nuttall, the Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has been named the UKIP candidate for the Stoke Central by-election.
The by-election, caused by the resignation of Hon. Tristram Hunt, is UKIP’s biggest electoral test. Stoke Central, which is seen as fruitful territory for the right-wing Eurosceptics, could kill UKIP dead if their Leader does not win.
Nuttall, an alumnus of UCLan, was elected in late 2016 after a dramatic series of Leadership contests in which Diane James was elected Leader, and then resigned after a matter of days, also leaving UKIP. The leadership contest caused a punch-up in the European Parliament between North West MEP Steven Woolfe and the aptly named Mike Hookem, MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, that left Woolfe with a clot on the brain and caused his resignation from the party.
Then, a second leadership contest was called, in which Suzanne Evans, who was previously on shaky grounds due to her icy relations with Nigel Farage, stood. Nuttall swept to victory, and that brings us to now.
A second MP for UKIP would be massive – they would have increased their Parliamentary representation by 100%, whereas for Labour, a victory would work out around 2.5%.