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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Bill Etheridge, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands backs Paul Nuttall

Bill Etheridge, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, has made the following statement following the decision of Paul Nuttall to stand for the leadership of UKIP.
“Nigel Farage was a wonderful leader of UKIP. Without his inspired leadership, particularly during the 2014 European election campaign, the party would not be in the strong position we are in today and I certainly wouldn't be an MEP.
“When Nigel stood down I felt it was my duty to stand to preserve his legacy against those I felt wanted to hijack the party and change it into something different to its original founding principles. I believe that UKIP must remain a patriotic, libertarian party standing for the individual against the over powerful state and not be tempted into cultural nationalism and the so called centre ground on economic policy.
“It was my honour to stand for those principles in the first leadership election. Despite coming third some distance behind the eventual winner I am very proud of the campaign my team ran. We did not lower ourselves to the dirty tricks and dishonourable behaviour that was unfortunately a feature of the campaign and we remained professional and positive all the way.
“We were gearing up for round two and the new leadership campaign with great confidence and a belief that this time we had strong support from the membership behind us. However things have changed and circumstances are now different.
“I always said that if a candidate better suited to take this party forward emerged I would back down and support them. That candidate has emerged. Paul Nuttall is not only a personal friend and an honourable man but I believe he is the only person who can effectively unite our party after the recent well publicised problems we have suffered.
“I will be supporting Paul and giving him my one hundred percent backing. I call on all other potential candidates to follow my example and withdraw from the race to allow Paul to go forward from here and unite our party.
“I wish to personally thank everyone who has worked with me on my campaign and all of the wonderful UKIP members who have trusted me with their votes, support and best wishes. I particularly want to thank my friend Mike Hookem MEP for his commitment and support at every stage of the campaign.
“The referendum was not the end for UKIP or even the beginning of the end, but it may well be the end of the beginning. Our party and our country have a great future. It is now our duty to unite and work together to achieve the very best we can for the British people.”