Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has stepped in as interim leader of the party following Diane James’ unexpected resignation after 18 days at the helm.
Farage told the BBC that he would return to lead the party until a fresh leadership could be held because James had not selected a deputy during her three weeks in charge.
“I keep trying to escape… and before I’m finally free they drag me back.”
Farage was UKIP leader between 2006 and 2009, and then returned to lead the party again between 2010 and 2016.
In a statement announcing her resignation, James 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 a Member of the European Parliament.”