Neil Hamilton, Former Conservative Minister, Elected To UKIP National Executive Committee

Former Conservative minister Neil Hamilton has been elected to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the UK Independence Party (Ukip).

His election to a three-year term on the ruling body of the eurosceptic party marks a return to active politics 14 years after he was defeated by independent Martin Bell in Tatton in the 1997 general election.

Mr Hamilton, whose candidacy for the NEC elections was backed by Ukip leader Nigel Farage, said he was "delighted" to receive 3,588 (61%) of the 5,863 members' votes cast.

He said: "I am back in politics to fight as never before to restore self-government and self-respect to Britain."

Mr Hamilton denounced the three main party leaders as "Euro-elitists" who had "sold Britain down the river".

"They all promised a referendum on Europe before the last election," he said.

"Last week, they all whipped their MPs against. We have a Parliament of eunuchs and hypocrites. Ukip is the only party with the balls to change it."

Mr Farage said: "I am very pleased that Neil has been elected to the NEC. His experience and wisdom will contribute significantly to Ukip at a time when the party is seeing increased membership and support."

Mr Hamilton was Conservative MP for Tatton from 1983-97 but his parliamentary career was ended by the cash-for-questions affair and he and wife Christine have since reinvented themselves as TV personalities.