Steven Woolfe MEP has announced that he is to resign from the UK Independence Party, just days after an altercation with a fellow party member that left him in hospital. He says he will now sit as an independent as a Member of the European Parliament for the North West of England.
Mr Woolfe was the first candidate to announce his intention to stand as leader of the party after Diane James’s resignation. But a day later, Woolfe was involved in what he described as a “scuffle” with fellow MEP and the party’s Defence Spokesman, Mike Hookem, which left Mr Woolfe in hospital after suffering two seizures.
In an article written for The Telegraph, Mr Woolfe said:
“What happened in Strasbourg, combined with the infighting and toxicity since the summer, have demonstrated to me one cold, hard fact,” Mr Woolfe writes.
“Ukip without Nigel Farage leading it and the Brexit cause to unify has resorted to damaging infighting.
“Indeed, the party I joined in 2011 is now ungovernable. The last few weeks and months have demonstrated that it lacks direction, it lacks a purpose and it lacks any semblance of professional organisation.
“I thought I was the person to give Ukip a new lease of life in the post-Farage, post-referendum era. But Ukip is in trouble – and I won’t lead it. It is with a huge amount of sorrow and regret that I am therefore abandoning my leadership bid and resigning from the party with immediate effect.”
This leaves three contenders in the race for the leader of the party. Mayoral Candidate and London Assembly Member, Peter Whittle; former senior advisor Raheem Kassam and Bill Etheridge, Member of the European Parliament for the Midlands.