A millionaire peer was elected leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) yesterday after putting “the growing threat of Islamism” and curbing immigration at the heart of his campaign.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch, who defected from the Conservatives two years ago, comfortably beat four rivals to assume command of the anti-European Union party.

One of two UKIP peers, he has protested that the “political class” is complacent about Islamism and claimed that some of “our people” were “strangers in our own land”.

The 67-year-old former insurance broker invited the right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders in February to screen a controversial film about radical Islam. He has called for a zero net increase in immigration, arguing that the issue was the main concern for many voters, and strongly supports the party’s main idea that the UK leave the European Union.

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