Ukip leader Diane James has resigned after just 18 days in charge, citing insufficient authority over MEPs and party officers to implement policy.
She confirmed her resignation in a statement to The Times.
She said: “It is with great regret that I announce 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 the 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 this issue.”
Her departure has already led to speculation that Nigel Farage could return as leader for a third time.
One Ukip source said Ms James’ decision technically meant Mr Farage was still leader, adding: “He may come back. He’s done it before.”
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