James ‘lacked support of colleagues’ to take party forward
If ‘you kipped’, you would have missed it. This week, the newly elected leader of the UKIP party has resigned after just 18 days in the role.
Diane James promised to professionalise the party upon her leaderships contest victory back in September and vowed to ensure the Conservative government followed through with Brexit plans.
However, as quickly as the 56-year-old was accepted into the role, she has now confirmed her resignation, less than three weeks into the job.
In a statement posted on her Twitter account, she said: “I will not be formalising my recent nomination to become the new leader of the party.
“It has become clear I do not have sufficient authority, nor the full support of all my MEP colleagues and party officers to implement changes I believe necessary and upon which I based my campaign.”
Despite being heavily involved with the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, UKIP have failed to define a new long-term aim since former leader, Nigel Farage, stood down from his position.
Farage himself ruled out a return to his vacated role, and told Sky TV that he hoped someone with a better knowledge of the party’s ‘figures’ would run for the position next time.
“I'm sorry that what's happened today has happened but I will say this - it is better that it happened now than in six months' time,” he added.
During the party’s annual conference in September, some UKIP officials have highlighted their worries that James did not possess the same public appeal which led Farage to being such a success.
Others said they were concerned with the elected leader’s inside knowledge of the party at a time when factional infighting was rife in the party.
The task of finding the replacement for James will now begin with former favourite for the position, Steven Woolfe, touted to submit a nomination for the role.
Woolfe had been excluded from running in the previous leadership race after submitting his nomination moments after the deadline had passed - an exclusion he described as a ‘coup’ at the time.