2018 UK Independence Party leadership election

The 2018 UK Independence Party leadership election was triggered after members voted to remove Henry Bolton as leader of the UK Independence Party at an extraordinary general meeting held in Birmingham on 17 February 2018.[1] It was the fourth UKIP leadership election in eighteen months.[2] Interim leader Gerard Batten was ultimately elected unopposed as the party's new leader.[3]

2018 UK Independence Party leadership election
 2017 14 April 2018 2019 
Candidate Gerard Batten
Running mate None
Percentage Unopposed

Leader before election

Gerard Batten (interim);
previously Henry Bolton

Leader after election

Gerard Batten


After the UK's referendum on EU membership in June 2016 resulted in a vote to leave the European Union, then-leader of UKIP Nigel Farage announced his resignation. In September 2016, Diane James was elected to succeed him, but resigned after 18 days, triggering another leadership election. Held in November 2016, it was won by Paul Nuttall. Nuttall led the party into the 2017 UK general election, but resigned after UKIP's vote share fell from 12.6% to 1.8% and the party failed to win any parliamentary seats.

Henry Bolton was elected to succeed Nuttall in September 2017. In January 2018, UKIP's NEC passed a motion of no confidence in Bolton, following controversy about his personal life. Bolton refused to step down, which triggered an emergency general meeting. This meeting was held on 17 February 2018, and those attending voted by 867 votes to 500 to remove him as leader.[1] Gerard Batten took over as interim leader and the leadership election had to be held within 90 days, before 18 May 2018.[1]

Bill Etheridge, an MEP who had twice stood for the leadership previously, initially announced his intention to stand again, but then withdrew to support Batten.[4][5]

Batten proposed, in order to avoid the expense of a leadership election, that he be elected uncontested to serve a 12-month term.[6] The Guardian understood that the party was trying to ensure an uncontested leadership election by raising financial and membership requirements.[6]



  • Gerard Batten, acting UKIP leader; UKIP Exiting the EU Spokesperson; MEP for London; leadership candidate in 2009[7][6]


  • Bill Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands; 2017; leadership candidate in September 2016 and November 2016[4][5]



Batten was elected unopposed, and announced he would resign in 12 months' time.[13]


  1. "UKIP members voted to sack embattled leader Henry Bolton". BBC News. BBC. 17 February 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  2. Cowburn, Ashley (17 February 2018). "Ukip sacks Henry Bolton as leader in wake of racism row to spark fourth leadership contest in 18 months". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  3. "UKIP confirms Gerard Batten as new leader". Sky News. 14 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  4. Madeley, Pete. "Bill Etheridge: It's my time to lead Ukip and make the Black Country a post-Brexit industrial powerhouse". www.expressandstar.com. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  5. Madeley, Pete. "Bill Etheridge suspends fourth UKIP leadership campaign to back anti-Islam candidate". www.expressandstar.com.
  6. Walker, Peter (3 April 2018). "Ukip avoids insolvency after raising money to cover £175,000 libel bill". the Guardian.
  7. McGuinness, Alan (18 February 2018). "Don't waste your time running again, ousted UKIP leader Henry Bolton told". Sky News. Sky UK. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  8. "UKIP members vote to sack leader Henry Bolton". Sky News. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  9. "Ousted leader Henry Bolton quits UKIP". BBC News. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  10. "Henry Bolton ousted as Ukip leader as party falls further into chaos". The National. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  11. Shehab Khan (19 February 2018). "Nigel Farage rules out running for Ukip leadership after sacking of Henry Bolton". The Independent. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  12. Young, Angus (7 February 2018). "Why this Hull-based MEP thinks he should be the next UKIP leader". Hull Daily Mail. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  13. "UKIP's leader announces plans to quit on day he is confirmed – BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 15 April 2018.