Whoops – there goes another UKIP leader

It’s a little known political trivia answer that Suzanne Evans was leader of UKIP for a few days in May 2015. Nigel Farage stood down after losing Thanet South in the General Election and Ms Evans stood in for three days. Then the party’s national executive commitee rejected Farage’s resignation.

Incredibly, now another UKIP leader has stood down after a few days. Diane James has resigned 18 days after being annointed by an awkward Farage non-kiss as leader.

What is going on?

Ms James has given these reasons for her resignation:

…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.

My take would be this. Alan Sked started UKIP in 1993 as an anti-EU party. Nigel Farage turned it into his own image as the Farage Anti-Immigration party. It seems that UKIP will be endlessly scouring round for leaders simply because no one can replace Farage because the party has become Farage.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • UKIP are a pressure group with some tacked on policies. Now we’re heading out of the EU they don’t really have a purpose or coherent vision. Their votes will drift away and their MEPs will have to go back to their day jobs. There will be a few die hards claiming they are going to replace Labour in the North or some such, but the truth is their future was actually more dependent on a remain vote than any other political party in Britain. My guess is that Duncan Carswell will re-join the Conservatives in time for 2020.

  • Bill le Breton 5th Oct '16 - 9:03am

    In the short term – which is key for us and our ‘struggle’ – this will have an impact on the Tory vote in the by-election.

  • Andrew McCaig 5th Oct '16 - 10:06am

    Not much I would think.. There were not all that many Kippers in Witney anyway and mostly they will just stay home.. Especially since the Tory candidate appears to be saying as little as possible about Brexit.. If he did try to “court” (ha ha) the UKIP vote he would just lose votes to us..

  • ………………..the party has become Farage……….

    Paul, the whole story encapsulated in five words

  • There were more UKIP voters than Lib Dems in Witney in the 2015 GE, so it could affect the result. My guess is most UKIP voters will see they are fighting a losing battle and vote Tory.

  • Bill le Breton 5th Oct '16 - 11:33am

    Thanks malc – 5,352. Hope you’re right Andrew.

  • And suddenly Farage is back in charge and anything could happen. You could have a serious fight on your hands for that second place now.

  • I’m surprised that no one seems overly bothered about this. If you look at a couple of the potential replacements you may have big problems. Paul Nuttall has had a lot of airtime over the years, is experienced within the party and has a very distinctive accent. Not certain if he’d want to step back into the limelight though. The second is Stevan Wolfe, I’ve not seen so much of him, but he seemed to be a good communicator (rubbish time keeper though), working class BME boy made good etc.
    Both of these seem to want to take the fight to Labour, especially in their Northern heartlands, wanting to do to Labour what Labour did to the Liberals. In other words, they are aiming for the same people that many Lib Dems seem to want to target as well.

  • PHIL THOMAS 5th Oct '16 - 2:52pm

    UKIP are still about 6% ahead of the Lib Dems in the polls. I’m afraid to say that replacing Tim Farron would improve matters ?

  • Allan Brame 5th Oct '16 - 3:20pm

    @Phil Thomas.
    With whom, exactly?

  • Richard Underhill 5th Oct '16 - 3:44pm

    What does Nigel Farage mean by “resign”? He did not give up the leadership of the UKIP MEPs, putting his successor into an impossible position, or making her (now him?) a puppet. Please note that UKIP’s one MP did not stand. Neil Hamilton was elected to the Welsh Assembly, became UKIP’s leader in Wales and does not intend to stand. Nigel Farage is now “interim leader”. No date has been yet set for an election. Why not simply appoint whoever was second last time?
    PHIL THOMAS: The Lib Dem leader needs to be an MP, of which we currently have eight, including one who resigned in 2015 and one who came an honourable second in the leadership election.
    Recent leadership changes also include:
    Conservatives (surely a misnomer now? referred to by their leader as “our party”)
    Labour (twice)
    Greens (twice)
    DUP, …
    Do we expect too much of our leaders?
    or are Plaid Cymru next?

  • Margaret Thatcher’s policies effectively put paid to the National Front, which had grown substantially in strength during the 1970s, and it seems probable that Theresa May will do the same to UKIP. I loathed and detested Margaret Thatcher, but I don’t particularly associate her with xenophobia. Yesterday’s succession of anti-foreigner speeches at the Tory Conference was an utter disgrace. I am ashamed that the leaders of our country can behave in such a disgraceful way.

  • Chris Bertram 6th Oct '16 - 8:27am

    @malc – This is unlikely to help: Ukip is being run by circus clowns – Arron Banks

  • Interesting times. The way the Tories are talking there is possibly no place for UKIP anymore. They are Faragising themselves. Groan

  • Jayne Mansfield 6th Oct '16 - 7:00pm

    @ chri-sh,
    If UKIP intend to take the fight to Labour, I had better get a suit of armour.

  • Simon Banks 6th Oct '16 - 9:20pm

    I’m amazed by Phil Thomas’ comment. Tim Farron is doing an excellent job. We have to stop thinking we’re still in coalition and the media ought to be featuring us all the time. We’re back to being a small but tough party the media will mostly ignore until we make a spectacular gain. Even with our much larger number of MPs in 2005-10, the reason why Nick Clegg made such an impact in the first leaders’ debate was that hardly anyone had much idea who he was before that.

    The low showing in the polls is not new either. We crashed in the polls after the 1997 election. We are turning in an excellent series of local by-election results and one reason for that is that our activists are keen again – and there’s more of them. There is a long way to go, but the party has rediscovered its heart and voice.

    As for UKIP in Witney, it’s not natural territory for them and pro-EU Tories turned off by their party’s behaviour are hardly likely to vote UKIP or for Jeremy Corbyn. Falange will motivate a small group. As the hard choices over the meaning of Brexit come to the fore, UKIP will turn to a mainly anti-immigrant message which will play well in some places, but their deceptions over Brexit will haunt them. They will be competitors in once-safe Labour areas where we should be getting back into the fight, but a Liberal Democrat versus UKIP struggle is not a bad thing for us at all as it focuses attention on issues that define us. To show the people of places like Sunderland and Merthyr that their real problems have Liberal solutions is a big challenge, but one we must accept.

  • I’ve heard of Tim Farron, but I’ve never heard of Phil Thomas. Who he ?

  • Richard Underhill 6th Oct '16 - 10:47pm

    BBC2 Newsnight reported that UKIP MEP Stephen Wolfe is recovering in hospital after an altercation.

  • Richard Underhill 30th Oct '16 - 3:20pm

    BBC TV Sunday Politics expert panelists commented that several f the UKIP leaderships hopefuls suggest that Nigel Farage should have a peerage, thereby endearing themselves to their party’s interim leader.
    1) would he accept if he needed to renounce his income as an MEP? and thereby as leader of the UKIP MEPs?
    2) would he pass the sifting process?

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