Nigel Farage would be willing to return to help the party, says Ukip chairman

Paul Oakden said he is sure Mr Farage would do what is in the best interest of the party

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Wednesday 05 October 2016 07:27 BST
Nigel Farage still Ukip leader after Diane James resignation

The prospect has been raised of Nigel Farage making another return to the helm of Ukip, to help stabilise the party as it recovers from the shock of losing its leader Diane James.

The chairman of the party Paul Oakden said he had spoken to Mr Farage and that it was “not impossible” that he could make yet another comeback, even though Mr Farage himself has ruled it out.

The scene was set for Mr Farage’s potential return to the top job, after Ms James quit last night claiming she did not have “sufficient authority” to make the changes she thought necessary.

While Mr Farage has said he would not come back, Mr Oakden said he had spoken to the politician and that he would be “ready to serve”.

He told the BBC: “Nigel has made his position very clear. He made it very clear when he resigned. I've already had a conversation with him.

“Nigel is a great man. He has the party at his core and he will do, as he has always done, whatever is in the best interest of Ukip. He will be ready to serve, I have no doubt, in whatever way he can in what, let's face it, will be a challenging couple of months.”

Diane James quits as Ukip leader after just 18 days in charge

He said he found it unlikely Mr Farage could become leader but added that he would want to be "supportive" and that it was "not impossible"

The party's mmigration spokesman Steven Woolfe is said to be ready to stand, while Suzanne Evans and Lisa Duffy, who lost to Ms James in the leadership contest, have not ruled it out.

Ms Duffy said she was not surprised Ms James had left because she had not been “passionate” during the contest, before adding that she would consider her future saying: “I think I've got an awful lot to offer.”

Mr Oakden denied the party had turned into a farce after Ms James said she would not "formalise" her leadership last night.

On Monday, the Electoral Commission confirmed that it was yet to receive paperwork from Ukip confirming Ms James was the party’s new leader.

It was reported that she did sign the forms but added the words “under duress” in Latin underneath her signature, rendering it void.

Mr Oakden said that in his mind the leader was still Ms James until someone else took over, but that the Electoral Commission may still consider Mr Farage leader if paperwork for a handover between the two was not registered.

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