Dear Fellow UKIP Member,
As you will have heard, following an uncontested election, I have been confirmed as UKIP Leader.
I received the backing of all three UKIP Lords, our major donors, our MEPs, our London and Welsh Assembly Members, and Party activists and members from all over the UK.
I would like to thank everyone for their support, and am grateful for the trust and confidence placed in me. I am also extremely grateful that our Chairman, Tony McIntyre and our Treasurer, Sebastian Fairweather have agreed to remain in post to give me their invaluable help.
As I said at the start of the contest, if the election were to be uncontested, I would hold office for twelve months. Therefore, I intend to resign on 13th April 2019 so that a full leadership contest may take place. By then I will have decided if I wish to contest that election or not.
For the next twelve months, I will concentrate on doing all I can to restore the Party’s fortunes. A very good start has been made and the Party is now on a sound financial footing.
However, we need to get UKIP back into the political fight. We have made a very good start with the 554 UKIP candidates standing in the English local elections.
Don’t pay any attention to our enemies who are crowing that our candidates numbers are 75% down on what they were last time. The truth is that instead of 554 candidates, the number would have been zero if you had not all backed me from the 17th Aprilonwards and the Party had disintegrated. Instead, let's celebrate the 554 and help them all we can.
My role as Interim Leader was to ensure the immediate survival of the Party. That has been done. However, we must move on and progress.
My aim for the next twelve months as UKIP Leader is to restore the Party; financially, organisationally and politically.
I will not make any extravagant promises. We are essentially a volunteer organisation and we have a difficult task ahead; one which will require a lot of commitment and work. But UKIP is needed now as much as ever.
UKIP came into being in 1993 in order to fill a political vacuum. Such a vacuum still exists: for a political party that speaks for ordinary people from all walks of life. One that represents their interests and the national interest.
I think you will all agree there is now a new spirit of optimism and confidence in the Party.
I will keep you informed of the actions I take, the progress we make, and the plans I put in place.
Gerard Batten MEP