UKIP has descended into “full-blown insanity,” warns insurance tycoon Arron Banks, who has donated more than £1 million to the party, as he threatened to withhold further cash amid ongoing uncertainty over the its future.
The frontrunner in the leadership contest, Steven Woolfe MEP, left the party on Monday, calling UKIP “rotten at heart.” Woolfe, Banks’ preferred candidate, had been hospitalized for three days earlier this month after an altercation with another UKIP MEP in Strasbourg.
This follows the resignation of Diane Smith, who stood down as party leader just 18 days after succeeding Nigel Farage, who is currently serving as interim leader.
“At the moment it’s full-blown insanity,” Banks, who co-founded the Leave.EU group, told the Times on Tuesday.
“With the Labour Party it’s the same thing. These are parties, not businesses. Lunatics can take over the asylum and they are [in charge] for the time being.”
The Bristol-based businessman had contributed funding to the leadership campaigns of both James and Woolfe.
However, Banks is now hinting he may stop funding the party altogether.
“If it continues as it is, and doesn’t change in the NEC elections, that will probably be the end for me,” he told the paper.
UKIP’s Deputy Treasurer Christopher Mills admitted on Wednesday the party may have to seek out new donors, but argued in the short-term it was not in dire financial straits.
“We will certainly need to find new donors for another election. But on a day to day basis the party is broadly cash flow break even,” the hedge fund boss told BBC Radio 4.
“UKIP is a very good brand and having established that brand it would be a pity to lose it even though the emphasis of what the party is now talking about will be different in the future.”
The party has signaled it wants a new leader in place by the end of November.