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UKIP's New Leader Names Putin, Thatcher, And Churchill As Her Political Heroes

But Diane James said she was not keen on Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

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UKIP's new leader, Diane James, has named Russian president Vladimir Putin alongside Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill as her political heroes.

Last year, James – elected on Friday to replace Nigel Farage as party leader – praised Putin for being "very nationalist".

In one of her first interviews since being elected, Andrew Neil asked James which other political figures she admired alongside Putin on the BBC's Sunday Politics show.

Initially hesitant to commit to naming her heroes, James only answered, "Well certainly not [Donald] Trump, certainly not [Hillary] Clinton."

But when pressed, she conceded, "Maybe Mrs Thatcher and Winston Churchill."

"So, Putin, Churchill, and Thatcher?" Neil asked, to which James nodded and uttered "hmm" through pursed lips.

Her remarks come as Russia goes to the polls today in legislative elections.

The election is seen as a guaranteed win for Putin's United Russia party, amid claims that opposition parties have been threatened with violence and intimidation if they continue to campaign.

UKIP's new leader also told Neil that she believed her party was the only one that could stand up for the 17.4 million people in the UK who voted to leave the European Union.

While prime minister Theresa May campaigned for Remain, she has insisted that "Brexit means Brexit" since entering Downing Street. But James said that the Conservative party was too divided to truly deliver on that promise.

Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Laura Silver at

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