Ukip leadership favourite Steven Woolfe has dramatically quit the party, branding it “ungovernable” and in a “death spiral”.
Mr Woolfe – who spent three nights in hospital after a row with a party colleague – said he was resigning from a party that had “elected politicians fighting each other”.
He again accused fellow MEP Mike Hookem of inflicting a “blow” to his face in the now infamous row at a party meeting in Strasbourg nearly two weeks ago.
And he told the BBC: “I’m resigning with immediate effect, which to me fills me with a huge amount of sadness because of all the people that I’ve worked with.
“I did believe that it had a great opportunity to represent millions of people who’ve been ignored by the Labour Party and by the elites who will still take great efforts to try and prevent Brexit.”
Mr Woolfe added: “I hope there might be a leader out there that can stop this spiral, but it isn’t me.”
Ukip gaffes and controversies
Ukip gaffes and controversies
1/18 European elections poster
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2/18 Farage 'car-crash' interview
Ukip spin doctor forced to intervene as Farage falters in disastrous radio interview
3/18 Neil Hamilton
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4/18 Kerry Smith
Kerry Smith resigned as would-be MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock after it emerged he had mocked gay party members as “disgusting poofters”, joked about shooting people from Chigwell in a “peasant hunt” and referred to someone with a Chinese name as a “Chinky bird”
5/18 Natasha Bolter
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6/18 Ukip Calypso song
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7/18 Janice Atkinson
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8/18 Ukip cancels Freephone
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9/18 Farage 'car-crash' interview
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10/18 Ukip employs illegal immigrants
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11/18 Magnus Nielsen
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12/18 Poster model
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13/18 'Arrest protesters'
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14/18 London Live make-up
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15/18 Andre Lampitt
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17/18 Have I Got News For You
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18/18 Anti-gay comments
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Asked why he was resigning, the North West MEP referred to the “visceral hatred in some cases towards Nigel [Farage] or anyone that’s seen to be associated with him”.
He added: “I don’t think at this stage Ukip is governable in a way that can make them achieve the potential that they’ve got. And I have to look after my own health at this moment.”
It had been expected that Mr Woolfe would contest the Ukip leadership contest, despite the incident in Strasbourg, with a new leader to be announced on 28 November.
He was kept in hospital and had a brain scan following two “epileptic-like fits” after the altercation.
Mr Hookem has said that he “categorically did not” throw a punch at his colleague, but acknowledged there had been a “scuffle”.
The pair were said to have clashed after Mr Woolfe revealed that he had previously considered defecting to the Conservative Party.
Today Mr Woolfe said he will now sit an independent MEP in the European Parliament.
In a separate article for The Daily Telegraph, he said Ukip “lacks direction, it lacks a purpose and it lacks any semblance of professional organisation”.
And he wrote: “Having been treated in such a way, I considered joining the Conservative Party. I am not a tribal politician.
“If other parties say or do things I support, I will praise them. And the beginning of Theresa May’s premiership has been impressive.”
Only a “small handful” of Ukip politicians and officials had contacted him to ask how he was since the incident, he told the BBC.Reuse content