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Will the UKIP force be with Suffolk’s Aidan Powlesland?

PUBLISHED: 08:24 07 August 2017 | UPDATED: 08:55 07 August 2017

UKIP's Aidan Powlesland. Picture: PAUL GEATER

UKIP's Aidan Powlesland. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

Could UKIP go where no party has gone before and elect a leader literally aiming for the stars?

Aidan Powlesland, the party’s South Suffolk candidate in the General Election, is one of the 11 candidates hoping to become the new UKIP leader.

During the election campaign, his address to the voters said he would like the government to: “Offer £1.2 billion worth of prizes, in the form of share capital, to the companies that win competitions to:

a) Design an interstellar colony ship.

b) Profitably mine the asteroid belt for water and/or platinum, so long as they do so by 2026.

c) That convert the ML86X design into a flying aircraft carrier(This is a giant airship being designed by an American company as a cargo-carrier).

Other runners in the UKIP leadership race include deputy leader Peter Whittle, Scottish leader David Coburn, MEP Jane Collins and London Assembly member David Kurten.

Sharia Watch director Ann Marie Waters, ex UKIP councillor Ben Walker, former Kent police and crime commissioner candidate Henry Bolton and direct democracy activist John Rees-Evans, who came third in the last contest, are also fighting for the top job, along with David Allen and Marion Mason.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage ruled himself out of the contest, while previous leadership candidate Bill Etheridge withdrew last month, warning that candidates such as Ms Waters and Mr Whittle would take the party to a “dark place” because of their obsession with Islam.

The party is now verifying the information of applicants and “completing vetting checks” ahead of a meeting of UKIP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) on August 11.

The NEC will approve the final list of candidates who will appear on the ballot paper.

Paul Nuttall resigned as leader after UKIP failed to win any seats at the General Election.

This triggered the third UKIP leadership race in a year, with former leader Diane James having quit in October, just 18 days after taking the job.

She won the contest to replace Mr Farage, who stepped down as UKIP head after the EU referendum.

Ballot papers will be issued on September 1 and the new leader will be announced at UKIP’s conference in Torquay on September 29.

A school near Bury St Edmunds is helping to raise funds to support education in Tanzania through a non-uniform day.

A Suffolk NHS trust has been ranked one of the best of the country, despite experiencing its most challenging winter on record.

Drivers are advised that it is “highly likely” the Orwell Bridge in Suffolk will shut during tomorrow morning’s rush hour amid forecasts of 65mph gusts.

A theatre workshop with a difference is making its way to Stowmarket for the first time this year.

He’s a well known television personality, but what’s John Bishop like live? Reviewer ELLIS BARKER headed down to the Regent tonight for the first gig of his three-night stop in Ipswich.

A Suffolk-based charity came together with businesses and individuals in the county to purchase much-needed sensory equipment for a Bury St Edmunds special school.

Warnings issued of the Orwell Bridge’s third closure in as many weeks have prompted renewed calls for a northern bypass to be built.

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