Nigel Farage has confirmed he will stay on as interim UKIP leader following the shock resignation of Diane James just 18 days after she took up the post. Farage insists he plans to retire and won’t be standing for re-election.
James quit on Tuesday night claiming she did not have “sufficient authority, nor the full support” of UKIP MEPs to make the changes she thought necessary.
A UKIP source said James had filled out an official form to take over control of the party, but had added the words “under duress” in Latin, rendering it void.
The Electoral Commission says James never technically became UKIP leader.
“UKIP submitted paperwork to the Commission notifying us of a change in their leadership on Monday 3 October, although this had not been processed as we had questions for the party regarding the completion of the form,” it said in a statement.
Farage, who has twice resigned as UKIP leader, confirmed he will stay on as interim party chief until a new leader is elected.
However, Farage has ruled out standing for a third term.
“It’s a rotten job, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” he said. When asked if that meant he’d want Carswell as leader, he laughed.
— Owen Bennett (@owenjbennett) October 5, 2016
Party Chairman Paul Oakden said it is “not impossible” that Farage could make another comeback and he was “ready to serve” if necessary.
“Nigel has made his position very clear. He made it very clear when he resigned. I’ve already had a conversation with him.
“Nigel is a great man. He has the party at his core and he will do as he always has done. Whatever is in the best interests of UKIP.
“He will be ready to serve, I have no doubt, in whatever way he can in what, let’s face it, will be a challenging couple of months.”
Immigration Spokesman Steven Woolfe is said to be ready to stand, while Suzanne Evans and Lisa Duffy, who lost to James in the leadership contest, have not ruled out running again.
Sources on Tuesday night said James had personal concerns about the impact of being leader of the pro-Brexit party, and a family matter had forced her to resign.
One senior party member told the Telegraph that James felt uneasy about the role since she was spat at on a train station platform after winning the leadership contest.