Ukip’s attempt to rebrand itself for the post-Brexit era experienced an early hiccup on Friday after a new party logo bearing a lion’s head prompted reports the Premier League was investigating whether it was too similar to its emblem.
The logo replaces the longstanding yellow and purple pound symbol, and was chosen by party members at Ukip’s annual conference in Torquay.
Its unveiling brought immediate comparisons with the Premier League’s logo, which also depicts a lion’s head.
The league said it had no immediate comment, but it is understood its internal legal team was aware of the issue and was looking into any potential breach of copyright.
Gary Lineker re-tweeted the logo with an eye-rolling emoji and the message: “The Premier League will be thrilled.”
A Ukip spokesman said: “Gary Lineker is a very well-known, somewhat sanctimonious, extremely well-paid TV celebrity who has his own opinions.”
Ukip’s chairman, Paul Oakden, said the party was not concerned. “We did our due diligence before we put these logos to the membership and as I said, we are perfectly comfortable,” he told BBC2’s Daily Politics.
The lion logo was chosen from a shortlist of two – the other featured stylised yellow and purple swooshes – at the conference. It is accompanied by the text, “Ukip, for the nation”.
Steve Crowther, Ukip’s interim leader until a full-time replacement for Paul Nuttall is announced on Friday afternoon, said the two logos had been agreed by the party’s national executive.
The lack of a pound symbol brought some boos and shouts from the conference floor, but Crowther said it was time to modernise the party’s message in the wake of the Brexit referendum.
In a speech to the conference, Crowther said Nigel Farage, the party’s former leader and still a key figure, would not consider returning to the post.
He said: “Now we face a new challenge to prove that we have a future post-Brexit and post-Farage. If we can’t create a dynamic and attractive political party without him at the helm we don’t deserve to call ourselves a political party.”
The new leader will be announced at about 5pm on Friday from a seven-strong list of candidates in what is forecast to be an extremely tight race.
One of the favourites, Anne Marie Waters, could badly split Ukip if she wins. Several insiders say they fear such a tight contest could favour the limited but fervent support base of Waters, whose pitch is largely based on her extreme views on Islam, a faith she has described as evil.
Waters, a co-founder of the UK branch of the anti-Islam group Pegida, is open about her ambition to move the party to a form of cultural nationalism based around religious intolerance.
She has close links to the far right and has received help in her campaign from Jack Buckby, formerly a prominent member of the British National party, who has spent time in the openly racist group Liberty GB.
Other favourites include London assembly members Peter Whittle and David Kurten, and former soldier Henry Bolton.
Some senior figures at the party conference said they believed the race was likely to come down to a contest between Waters and Whittle.
The new leader will be the party’s fourth inside a year. Under Nuttall’s six-month tenure the party won fewer than 600,000 votes in the general election in June, against almost 4m in 2015.
The UK Independence Party is a Eurosceptic and right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. Headquartered in Newton Abbot, Devon, its current leader is Henry Bolton.
Source: the Guardian