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AN economist from Gloucestershire is vying to become the next leader of the UK Independence Party.
Professor Tim Congdon, of Huntley, entered the race for the party's top job after the surprise resignation of Lord Malcolm Pearson. The world-renowned economist was UKIP's candidate for the Forest of Dean seat in the last General Election, taking 5.2 per cent of the vote.
He said he was entering the leadership battle in response to the ever-increasing influence of the European Union over British politics.
Prof Congdon, pictured, said: "I'm doing it for the same reason I stood in the General Election this year. I am horrified by the extent to which the Government of our country has been handed over to a foreign bureaucracy.
"People don't understand to what extent that their country's government has been stolen from them."
Prof Congdon was an economic adviser to former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher but left the Tories in 2007 after becoming disillusioned with David Cameron's policies.
He said his previous experience gave him an edge over his rivals in the UKIP leadership contest.
He said: "I've been involved in a lot of journalism and think- tank work and getting our points into the public domain so they become part of policy conversations. That's very much what we want to do here."
Prof Congdon will face strong competition from leading global warming expert Christopher Monckton and London MEP Gerard Batten.
The favourite for the job is former leader Nigel Farage, who is expected to announce his candidacy at the party conference tomorrow.
Prof Congdon said he had learned a lot from the General Election campaign in May.
He will officially register his desire to stand in the next few weeks and is planning to set up a website to support his campaign.