THE LEADER of UKIP, Diane James, who was elected to the office under three weeks ago, has stepped down.
In doing so, it has emerged that Mrs James never formalised her appointment to the post with the Electoral Commission.
In a statement provided to The Times newspaper on Tuesday (Oct 4), Diane James said:
“It is with great regret that I will not be formalising my recent nomination to become the new Leader of the party with the Electoral Commission.
“Having won the enthusiastic support of party members, I was nominated by them as the new Leader at the recent UKIP Bournemouth conference.
“Since that time, I have been in discussion with party officers about the role. It has become clear that 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.
“For personal and professional reasons, therefore, I will not take this election process further.
“I will continue to concentrate fully on my activities and responsibilities as an elected UKIP Member of the European Parliament for SE UK Region.
“This is my final media statement on the issue.”
Despite having won the leadership of UKIP with a commanding 8,451 votes, beating former TK Maxx manager Lisa Duffy to the top job, Ms James is reported in the press to have been uneasy since her election with some of the internal wrangling in the notoriously clique-riven party hierarchy – which has been described as ‘chaotic’ and ‘shambolic’.
The farcical situation may not have left UKIP without a leader, however; Nigel Farage may yet – technically – still be leader, since Mrs James had not formally taken up the leadership of the Party. That being the case, the position of Neil Hamilton as UKIP’s Welsh leader is potentially in doubt. It is not clear whether Mrs James would have had the authority to appoint Neil Hamilton as UKIP Wales leader when she appears never to accepted the nomination delivered by capturing her impressive 8,451 personal votes for UKIP leader.
It is thought that (former?) leader Nigel Farage is not a fan of the flamboyant Mr Hamilton. Certainly, Mr Farage very publicly endorsed (former?) UKIP Wales leader Nathan Gill as leader in Wales when Mr Gill and Mr Hamilton were engaged in a very public and acrimonious argument about who was top dog.