Anti-EU UKIP picks new leader to replace Trump ally Farage

LONDON (AP) — Britain's populist U.K. Independence Party chose European Parliament member Paul Nuttall as leader on Monday, replacing the charismatic but divisive Nigel Farage.

Nuttall beat two other contenders in a contest to head the right-wing Euroskeptic party.

In his acceptance speech to UKIP members, Nuttall vowed to unite the fractious party and fight to ensure that Britain's divorce from the EU is not watered down during negotiations.

"We will hold the government's feet to the fire electorally and ensure that Brexit really does mean Brexit," he said.

Monday's announcement follows a tumultuous period for UKIP, which played a major role in Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

The result was a triumph for the party, which was founded to get the U.K. out of the EU. However, UKIP soon descended into squabbling.

Farage stepped down after the EU vote, which he said capped his political career. But replacement Diane James resigned after 18 days. The favorite to replace her, Steven Woolfe, also quit after a fight with a UKIP colleague that left him hospitalized.

The party, which has just one lawmaker in the 650-seat House of Commons, faces an uncertain future without Farage, its best-known personality.

His international profile has grown because of his strong relationship with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who suggested in a tweet that Farage would make a good British ambassador in Washington.

The British government quickly replied that there was no vacancy for the job.

In his final leader's address, Farage told UKIP members he was heading to the United States this week — "purely as a tourist. Nothing more than that."
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