The battle to be Ukip’s new leader hotted up as nominations for the post closed on Friday.

Candidates for the top job will now be vetted by Ukip’s National Executive Committee before securing a place on the ballot paper, with a full list of names not expected to be announced for several days.

Among those vying to take the post are deputy leader Peter Whittle, Scottish leader David Coburn, MEP Jane Collins, London Assembly member David Kurten, Sharia Watch director Ann Marie Waters, former 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.

Former leader Nigel Farage ruled himself out of the contest.

Previous leadership candidate Bill Etheridge withdrew on Wednesday with a warning that candidates like Ms Waters and Mr Whittle would take the party to a “dark place” because of their obsession with Islam.

Patrick O’Flynn, the party’s former economics spokesman, stood down on Thursday saying all the potential candidates for the party’s leadership disagree with him on its future policies on tax and spending.

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 leader after the EU referendum.

The new leader will be announced at Ukip’s conference in Torquay on September 29.