Diane James succeeds Nigel Farage as UKIP leader

Diane James with Nigel Farage after winning the leadership contest.
Diane James with Nigel Farage after winning the leadership contest.

Diane James has won the UKIP leadership contest, and will succeed Nigel Farage as the party's leader.

MEP Ms James, the deputy chairman of UKIP, won 8,451 votes - almost half of the total - to take the top job.

She was announced as the new leader at the party's annual conference, in Bournemouth.

Among those she defeated was Phillip Broughton, who came second in the last general election in Hartlepool.

He was fourth in the UKIP leadership contest with 1,545 votes, also behind Lisa Duffy (4,591 votes) and Bill Etheridge (2,052 votes).

Ms James said: "I still haven't quite come to grips with it.

"I'm still pinching myself but I'm just immensely grateful for what you have done and what you have bestowed on me."

The new leader said the party had "moved mountains on the political landscape" and was the "change movement of the United Kingdom".

She has insisted that Brexit must mean "100% EU exit" and that the pressure must be maintained on Prime Minister Theresa May's government.

She said: "And Mrs May: from one grammar school girl to another, stop the faff, stop the fudge and the farce, get on with it - evoke Article 50 and give UKIP the best Christmas present we could ever have, 2016, December 25."

As she took to the stage to take over from Mr Farage as the party's new leader, Ms James paid tribute to the work of her predecessor.

In total, 17,970 votes were cast in the contest.