Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) Diane James says Russian President Vladimir Putin is one her top three political heroes.
Speaking to BBC on Sunday, the newly elected party leader said she admired Putin alongside with former British prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill.
James had previously expressed her admiration for the Russian head of state, telling The Telegraph in an interview last year that Putin was a “strong leader.”
“I admire him from the point of view that he’s standing up for his country. He is very nationalist,” she said.
“He is a very strong leader. He is putting Russia first, and he has issues with the way the EU encouraged a change of government in the Ukraine which he felt put at risk a Russian population in that country,” James added.
To succeed Nigel Farage as the new UKIP leader, James easily defeated Ramsey councilor Lisa Duffy in a leadership contest on Friday.