London

UKIP selects Peter Whittle as London mayoral candidate

Peter Whittle
Image caption Peter Whittle believes many in the City of London want to leave the EU

UKIP has chosen its candidate to stand for London Mayor at next year's election.

Peter Whittle, the party's culture spokesman, was selected over deputy chair of UKIP Suzanne Evans.

In a BBC interview he said his priority would be to encourage people to stay in London rather than being forced to leave the city for financial reasons.

He also said he was opposed to the expansion of Heathrow airport.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Whittle denied that deputy chair of UKIP Suzanne Evans would have made a stronger candidate

And Mr Whittle believes people in the City of London would not be concerned if UKIP won, claiming many in the financial sector want to leave the EU.

When Mr Whittle was asked if Ms Evans would have made a stronger candidate than him, he insisted it had been a robust and fair selection process, and he was good friends with Ms Evans.

He denied she was not chosen because of disagreements she had had with party leader Nigel Farage.

Mr Farage said: "Peter has been an asset to UKIP for many years, and I am delighted to learn that the party has elected him as our candidate in the battle to become London Mayor."

Image copyright Joel Goodman/LNP/Rex
Image caption DJ Mike Read will stand as a UKIP candidate in the London Assembly elections next year

Mr Whittle was born in Peckham, grew up in Shooters Hill and has lived and worked in the capital his whole life. He also set up the New Culture Forum think tank.

UKIP also announced Ms Evans would stand as a candidate in the London Assembly elections.

The radio DJ Mike Read will also stand as a candidate for the party in the London Assembly elections.

Tooting MP Sadiq Khan has been selected as Labour's mayoral candidate, the Lib Dems have chosen Caroline Pidgeon, the Green Party has Sian Berry and George Galloway will represent The Respect Party.

The Conservative Party has not yet selected a candidate. The party's Boris Johnson, who was elected as an MP in May's general election, has been mayor since 2008.

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