Unsurprisingly, Nigel Farage thinks a Ukip leadership contest would be a 'massive mistake'

The party leader seems to have no appetite to take on challengers

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Indy Politics

An election to decide who should lead Ukip would be a “massive, massive mistake”, the party’s leader Nigel Farage has said.

Speaking after a day of recriminations and anonymous briefing between different factions of the party over his leadership, Mr Farage argued he had “phenomenal” support from his own activists.

“The level of support for me in the party is phenomenal and, frankly, to go through a leadership contest at a time when Cameron says he's renegotiating our relationship with the European Union would be a massive, massive mistake,” he told an audience on the BBC's Question Time programme.

The claim is a stark contrast to Mr Farage’s statements last week in which he indicated he would step down, a move that would have triggered such a leadership contest.

Mr Farage had pledged to quit as leader if he lost his battle to become the MP for Thanet South. He subsequently announced his resignation but then reversed his decision after a meeting of Ukip’s national executive.

The party showed signs of sliding into an all-out civil war over Mr Farage’s leadership yesterday.


Major party donor Stuart Wheeler told BBC Radio 5Live that the leader should resign and take part in a leadership contest if he wanted to remain in his post.

Senior sources also reportedly told the Press Association news agency and BBC News that the party leader should "take a break" and have to stand for re-election, respectively.

The demand came after Ukip’s economics spokesperson Patrick O’Flynn told The Times newspaper that Mr Farage had transformed into a “snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive” man after the election.

There followed a series of retaliatory briefings against Mr O’Flynn and suggestions that a close advisor to Mr Farage had lost his job.

Ukip dramatically increased its vote share at the 2015 election but ended up with fewer seats than it started with. Douglas Carswell, the party’s only MP to retain his seat, has ruled himself out of any potential leadership contest.