UK Politics

UKIP's Diane James: Why I'm not offering new policies

Diane James Image copyright PA

One of the candidates bidding to become UKIP's next leader says she is not putting forward any policies as part of her campaign.

Diane James said she refused to develop policy "on the hoof" and would focus on "refreshing" UKIP's last manifesto.

She also said she was boycotting hustings with the other candidates because she could answer more of activists' questions at her own events.

The winner of the leadership contest will be announced on 15 September.

Ms James is up against fellow MEP Bill Etheridge, councillor Lisa Duffy and activists Phillip Broughton and Elizabeth Jones to replace Nigel Farage, who quit after June's vote to leave the EU.

"I have not put forward any policies," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"What I have put forward is what I've called my first 100 days programme," which involves reviewing and updating the party's 2015 general election manifesto.

Leadership contest timetable

Image copyright PA
  • 31 July: Nominations closed
  • 3 August: Final list of candidates announced
  • 1 September: Ballot papers issued to party members
  • 15 September: Votes counted and the winner of the contest announced

Ms James said candidates should not put forward policies "without checking if they're realistic" and not knowing the details of Brexit.

"You can't make up policy like that," she added.

Ms James's absence from hustings has been criticised by some in the party, which has been hit by internal battles with two of its best-known figures barred from standing.

She said there was "no need" for her to debate with her rivals, saying her own programme of events around the country allowed her to take more questions from party activists.

"I am more interested in what will convince individual members and activists that I have got an answer to their direct questions."

In her own interview on the Today programme earlier this week, Ms Duffy rejected concerns about the lack of household names in the contest.

She said: "The five candidates that are in the race - four of us are turning up at the hustings on a religious basis, every single night we are here and we are meeting our members."

"The next leader has to be a strong leader," she said.

"They have to be a team builder but they have to understand our party inside and out and not lose the uniqueness that is UKIP."