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Latest News : Suzanne Evans has announced she will run for the leadership of UKIP

Suzanne Evans has announced she will run for the leadership of UKIP, saying she would make the party the “common sense centre” ground of politics.

The party’s former deputy chairman, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show this meant: “Not the wishy washy Lib Dem centre, the tough centre,” capable of taking votes from both left and right.

However, interim leader Nigel Farage told ITV’s Peston on Sunday she had made a bad start to her candidacy.

“I won’t be voting for her,” he said.

“I don’t doubt she has ability, it’s just a question of political direction and to kick off her campaign decrying one of the declared candidates is not what we needed.”

Ms Evans earlier told Andrew Marr there had been “a bit too much testosterone in UKIP” in the past and accused her leadership rival Raheem Kassam of seeking to take the party too far to the right.

Mr Farage is back in charge as interim leader after Diane James, who was elected as his successor when he stepped down after the Brexit vote, quit after 18 days in charge.

Ms Evans was unable to run for leadership at the time after she failed to overturn a six-month suspension from the party.

The ban arose after an internal disciplinary meeting found she publicly criticised a fellow candidate and held herself out as a party spokeswoman without authority.

Nominations in the current leadership election close on 31 October, with the eventual winner announced on 28 November.

‘Tug-of-war’

She said: “I think I’m the right person to lead the party into the challenges ahead, to be able to beat the first past the post system that we have at the moment by broadening our appeal and getting MPs into Westminster.

“But first and foremost I think I’m the right person to champion the cause of those 17.4 million people who voted to leave the European Union and who are now seeing their democratic choice undermined by the political class.

“I absolutely want to be their champion. We are seeing hundreds of MPs trying to overturn the verdict, activists, lawyers trying to undermine the will of the people.

“I want to say to them ‘don’t you dare’. I will be there breathing down their neck to make sure that we have that tug-of-war. They are trying to pull us back to Brussels – I’m going to grab hold of the other end of the rope and make sure we pull us out to the EU exit door.”