Peter Whittle has become the latest candidate to withdraw from the UK Independence Party leadership contest and has publicly backed fellow candidate and front-runner Paul Nuttall.
Mr Whittle, the party’s Culture and Communities Spokesman and one of two UKIP members of the London Assembly, made the announcement this morning, having partaken in last night’s leadership hustings in Newport, Wales, during which fellow candidate John Rees-Evans left after making a speech criticising the process. Mr Rees-Evans announced he would “embark” on a nationwide tour on his own instead.
After a great deal of thought, I have decided to withdraw from #UKIPLeadership contest and recommend that members vote for @paulnuttallukip
— Peter Whittle AM (@prwhittle) November 4, 2016
This now leaves Mr Rees-Evans, Mr Nuttall and former party spokeswoman Suzanne Evans in the contest, with only Ms Evans and Mr Nuttall left to appear in the remaining two hustings events.
After the first hustings event on Monday, political blogger Guido Fawkes tweeted that Mr Nuttall has visited Mr Whittle in London’s City Hall on Tuesday, hinting that maybe a deal was on the cards.
Mr Whittle’s full statement is available on his Facebook page.
The leader will be announced on November 28th.