Ukip leader Paul Nuttall resigns following disastrous election

'I am standing down today as the leader of Ukip with immediate effect'

Paul Nuttall announces resignation as leader of Ukip

Paul Nuttall has quit as Ukip’s leader, within hours of his party’s disastrous election performance, winning a puny two per cent of the vote.

He insisted he was “proud” of his party’s manifesto, which promised another crackdown on immigration, a bigger army and taking the axe to the “bloated” foreign aid budget.

But he said: “I am standing down today as the leader of Ukip with immediate effect.”

Mr Nuttall vowed that Ukip under his successor – to be in place by September – would continue to be a “straight talking” party that says “what everybody else is thinking”.

“If Ukip is to prosper, it must continue to be the outrider of British politics – the party that leads and does not follow,” he said.

The resignation comes after former leader Nigel Farage said he would have “no choice but to return to frontline politics” if Brexit was put at risk by a hung parliament.

Asked if he would return as leader, Mr Farage said: “Whether leading or playing a prominent role is perhaps a different question.”

He could not see the “historic victory” of the British people at last year's EU referendum be betrayed by the political class “and not fight back”, he added.

Mr Nuttall failed in his bid to win a Commons seat on Thursday, finishing a distant third in Brexit heartland Boston and Skegness behind the Tories.

It was the Ukip leader's sixth attempt to get into Parliament, having finished second behind Labour at a disastrous Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election earlier this year.

Ukip's share of the vote crashed by 26.1 per cent to 3,308 votes, while Labour increased its vote by 8.5 per cent to 10,699 and the Tories by 19.8 per cent to 27,271.

It mirrored Ukip’s fate across the country, with the party's vote share down to around 2 per cent nationally, splitting between Labour and the Conservatives.

At a news conference, Mr Nuttall said: “It is clear that Ukip requires a new focus, new ideas and a new energy - and it is there amongst out ranks.

“I think, regardless of the score last night, I have laid the foundations for the future in this General Election campaign but it will be for someone else to build on those.”

Asked about a future role for former leader Nigel Farage, Mr Nuttall said: "If Nigel Farage wants to come back, I would be more than happy to do a job swap. I'll take his slot on LBC [radio] and he can come back as leader of Ukip.”

Earlier, Mr Farage said he did not blame Mr Nuttall for the party's poor showing.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in