Ukip leader quits after 18 days due to 'insufficient authority'

Diane James has quit as leader of Ukip after just 18 days in charge.

The 56-year-old said it had become clear in discussions with party officials that she did not have "sufficient authority" to push through changes which she had planned.

Live updates

Steven Woolfe puts name forward to be next Ukip leader

Mr Woolfe announced his bid hours after Diane James quit. Credit: PA

Steven Woolfe has become the first leadership contender to throw his hat in the ring following the shock resignation of Diane James.

Mr Woolfe was barred from standing in the last leadership contest after submitting his nomination papers 17 minutes late.

His announcement came as Nigel Farage confirmed he would be carrying on as interim leader until a permanent successor was in place - prompting a furious row within the party.

Farage: 'Waterloo attack could be reason for resignation'

Nigel Farage has said he thinks Diane James' decision to quit as leader of Ukip could have been because of an attack she experienced at Waterloo Station.

Shortly after winning the leadership contest, Ms James was spat on and verbally abused on a train platform. Mr Farage said the incident could have caused "a realisation that she'd taken on a job that was going to be 24/7 that was going to involve her having security with her the whole time, I mean you take this job, your life is no longer your own".

The acting Ukip leader added that he would much rather Ms James recognised that the job was not for her now rather than months after accepting the position saying it "isn't where we need to be but it's not the end of the world."


Nigel Farage to 'continue as acting Ukip leader'

Nigel Farage said he was sorry that Diane James resigned as Ukip leader. Credit: PA

Nigel Farage will continue as "acting Ukip leader" until a new leader is elected following the resignation of Diane James after just 18 days.

But he ruled out standing as leader himself, telling Adam Boulton on Sky News: "I've done my bit, I'm still very much a member of the party.

"But it is it is time for someone else to do the job."

He said he was sorry that James resigned, adding that he thought she had "all the qualities for the job".

It's a pretty rotten job being leader of any political party and I think being leader of Ukip is probably more rotten than all the others.

– Nigel Farage

'Diane James wrote under duress on leadership papers'

Lisa Duffy was backed by many as the anti-Farage wing of Ukip. Credit: PA

Diane James wrote "under duress" in Latin on her registration forms when taking over as leader, Ukip's Lisa Duffy has claimed.

The leadership candidate, backed by many in the anti-Farage wing of the party, said: "My understanding is that is what's happened, but I haven't got proof myself."

The former party director, who said she would not rule herself from running in another leadership election, said she was not surprised that James stood down so quickly, after offering no leadership over the past three weeks.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Duffy said: "I didn't believe this was something that she particularly wanted to do or had the passion to do. So I'm not surprised."

Farage's return as leader 'unlikely but not impossible'

Ukip chairman Paul Oakden said Nigel Farage may still be the registered leader. Credit: PA

Ukip party chairman Paul Oakden said that Nigel Farage is "very unlikely" to return as leader but added: "I wouldn't say anything is impossible right now."

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said Farage could still be listed as the registered leader of the party if the Electoral Commission has not received paperwork from Diane James following her election win.

He said: "If they still have Nigel Farage down as the leader it's going to make it a very interesting day for me, I suspect."

[Farage] has the party at his core and he will do as he has always done - whatever is in the best interests of Ukip - and he will be ready to serve it, I have no doubt, in whatever way he can, in what, let's face it, are going to be a challenging couple of months.

– Paul Oakden

Oakden said he had not spoken to James about her decision to resign after 18 days in the role, adding: "I can only speak for my part and the part of the NEC which is they were as constructive as they could be under the circumstances of a new leader being elected."


Davidson: Ukip leader's resignation is 'shambles'

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson said that the resignation of Ukip leader Diane James shows the party is a "shambles".

She told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "I have to say I was surprised when I heard the news last night. I thought Sam Allardyce was holding the record this week for resignations but it turns out that Diane James has taken his crown."

Referring to the leadership contest in the summer, which saw favourite Steven Woolfe expelled from the race, Davidson added: "You see Ukip as a shambles over the summer, a shambles now with their leader not even lasting three weeks."

Back to top

Latest ITV News reports