Neil Hamilton is a British former barrister and politician who has been leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) since 2020. Together with his wife, Christine, The Hamiltons became media personalities and have featured in numerous television shows.
Neil became MP for Tatton in 1983. He served as a government whip under Margaret Thatcher, before becoming corporate affairs minister under John Major.
In 1997, Hamilton lost his seat to BBC war correspondent Martin Bell, who was standing as an independent candidate. This followed the famous “Battle of Knutsford Heath” where the two candidates stood before news cameras with Neil and Christine confronting Bell on his election policies. Bell was standing on an alleged anti-corruption stance after Neil had faced allegations as part of the Cash for Questions scandal which he denied and led to what has been called “the libel trial of the century”.
Following his election loss Neil and Christine appeared on one of the most famous episodes ever of current affairs satire quiz programme “Have I Got News for You” and Neil also appeared on “Da Ali G Show” on Channel 4, for a satirical comedic interview.
However it was in 2001 when Neil and Christine gained household name celebrity status as they became the subjects of Louis Theroux documentary “When Louis Met The Hamiltons” with the film showing a lighter side to the political double-act, but also saw them arrested on claims of sexual assault which were later proven to be false. Louis has called it one of the strangest documentary situations he has ever been in.
Since then, the Hamiltons have appeared together in pantomimes, television chat shows, and programmes such as “The Weakest Link”, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and “Ready Steady Cook.” with Neil appearing as a contestant on “Celebrity Mastermind” in 2004 and dancing in a perspex box for “Johnny Vegas – 18 Stone of Idiot” in 2005.
The self described “professional objects of curiosity” have also appeared in theatre. Neil took to the stage alongside his wife in “The Rocky Horror Show” wearing six-inch stiletto heels, a basque, suspenders and stockings as Narrator. The Hamiltons also appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in 2006 with their show, “Lunch with the Hamiltons.”
Returning to politics in 2011 Neil was elected to The National Executive Committee of UKIP and became leader of UKIP Wales in 2016. In September 2020 he was named acting leader of UKIP and was elected UKIP leader in October 2021.