Everything could be about to change in British politics … again. On Monday UKIP is set to elect its new leader, and a leading Catholic pro-life campaigner could be the man to get the job.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Sunday Telegraph today, 40 year old Paul Nuttall laid out his plans for heading UKIP into Labour votewr heartlands.
“The next leader of Ukip will still be photographed with a pint in hand,” he told The Telegraph. “It will just be a pint of Guinness, not warm beer.
“I am a pub person. Nigel and I have been drinking buddies for many years. People have probably seen us pint in hand together, but I will cultivate my own image.”
Born in Bootle in Merseyside, Nuttall was educated at Savio High School, a Catholic state comprehensive school in the town and Hugh Baird College, also in the town. He received an HND in Sports Science from North Lincolnshire College, before studying History at Edge Hill College, graduating as BA and later as MA from Liverpool Hope University, where he specialised in British Edwardian politics.
He opposes abortion and supports the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children at whose events he is regularly invited to speak. He is also well known for his stances regarding crime and anti-social behaviour. He has called for tougher prison sentences for persistent re-offenders, drug dealers and violent criminals and for an increase in prison capacity in the UK. He is also a signatory to an e-petition calling for the reintroduction of the death penalty for convicted child and serial killers.
Ukip “obviously” has a women problem, he says. “Opinion polls tell us that we do statistically better with men than with women. What we’ve got to ensure happens is that we get more female faces out there … We’ve got to move away from this idea that UKIP has been a one-man band.”
While Nuttall is a committed British unionist, he has also called for the establishment of an English Parliament and presented the UKIP’s new devolution policy at its annual conference at Eastbourne in September 2011. In 2015, he became the President of the Initiative for Direct Democracy in Europe.
But is there any point to UKIP when the UK has just voted for independence?
Nuttall is defiant. “I’m not downbeat about this in any way, shape or form. Even after the summer we’ve had, which has made the party look completely shambolic, we’re still polling at 12, 13 per cent,” he said in his interview.
“I remember when I first came in as party chairman in December 2008 we were on zero per cent on the opinion polls. We need to come together and then kick on. Ukip has been here before. It’s not broken for good, it can be salvaged and it will be salvaged.”
He sees the point of UKIP after the referendum as two-fold: ensuring Theresa May “delivers” on Brexit and replacing Labour as the party of the working class.
“We have this fantastic opportunity, which we’ve never had before to this extent, to move into Labour working-class communities and mop up votes,” he says.
“I think in some of these communities we can replace the Labour Party in the next five years and become the patriotic party of the working people.”