Ukip leadership favourite Steven Woolfe put social mobility at the heart of his bid become Nigel Farage's successor as he launched his campaign in London this morning (14 July). The North West MEP highlighted his story of growing up in a Manchester council estate before becoming a lawyer to make his case.

"I am so proud of what this country has given me," Woolfe declared. "I am living proof of our own 'British dream' – the chance to succeed in life, no matter your postcode, your gender or the colour of your skin."

He added: "We must deal with the growing lack of social mobility in our society. From housing to education, jobs to health, life expectancy to mental health provision, our country is becoming more divided.

"This division is shown in the attitude of so many of the coalition of the comfortable who voted Remain with their insults to the old, poor or so-called 'less-educated'.

"So many of them have forgotten they have inbuilt advantages from birth or background. I haven't – and as leader of this party I will develop policies that embrace our whole nation and ensure social mobility is put truly at the forefront of British politics once more."

The comments indicate a slight shift to the left as Woolfe plans to target Labour's heartlands in the north and middle of England rather than Conservative shire constituents after the Brexit result the EU referendum.

Woolfe, a familiar face in the British media thanks to his role as Ukip's migration spokesman, also said he wanted to professionalise and restructure the party's constitution, offices and governing structure.

Ukip donor Arron Banks, a co-founder of the Leave.EU and insurance millionaire, has made similar remarks as well as Farage, who resigned from the top job in early July. Under Farage, the party campaigned heavily on the issue of immigration in the 2015 general election and EU referendum.

Team Woolfe

  • Leader of Ukip in Wales Nathan Gill MEP (campaign chairman)
  • London AM Peter Whittle and Ukip culture spokesman (deputy campaign chairman)
  • Leader of Ukip Scotland David Coburn MEP (supporter)
  • London AM David Kurten (supporter)
  • Ukip MEP and councillor Tim Aker (supporter)

Woolfe told IBTimes UK that he would continue to campaign on the issue in a bid to not let Theresa May's new government and Labour "off the hook".

He said: "Immigration is still an important point – it's a major factor on housing, schools and hospitals. But I think we've won the argument to say that we need to have a managed migration policy.

"We still need to ensure that we talk about it because that's a big concern. We can't let them off the hook. But it does mean that we talk about developing the polices, trying to work alongside them – sometimes agree with them, sometimes disagree with them.

"But the policies must be directed at ensuring that people in this country have a fair crack at the whip, that their wages start to rise, that they have opportunities to get housing, that we have investment into the hospitals and schools so that they are less overcrowded and we consider the future where we have large population growth so they are not overcrowded. It's not about GDP, it's about quality of life."

The nominations to enter Ukip's leadership contest have already opened and close on 31 July, with Farage's successor being announced on 15 September. Paul Nuttall MEP, Ukip's deputy leader, has ruled himself out of the race, while deputy chairman Diane James MEP is tipped to run and Banks has so far failed to rule himself out of the contest. Suzanne Evans, a former favourite, is suspended from the party.