James resigns; Farage returns

Diane James has resigned as leader of UKIP just 18 days after her election.

James said that she was stepping down because she did not have “the full support” of her “MEP colleagues and party officers”. She also cited “personal reasons”.

It has been suggested an unpleasant incident in which a member of the public verbally abused and spat at James may have contributed to her decision.

Former Ukip official David Soutter has claimed that Ms James “didn’t want to do the job” in the first place. He alleges that Mr Farage and donor Arron Banks pressured her into doing the job.

Reports say that Ms James wrote “under duress” in Latin on her electoral commission form. If true, this would mean that technically, she has never became leader.

Farage returns

Whatever the case, Nigel Farage has said that he will remain as leader until the conclusion of UKIP’s next leadership election. Farage has rejected calls for him to stand again, calling the task of leading UKIP “a rubbish job”.

In a previous article on James’ election, this writer suggested that Mr Farage might consider an “un-resignation”. Farage has a record of “unresigning”, and there are questions over whether UKIP can survive without his charismatic leadership.

The end for UKIP?

Following the result of the referendum, some commentators have suggested that UKIP should disband. Now that we are leaving the European Union, UKIP has served its purpose.

Given the chaotic state of the party, that suggestion is looking increasingly sensible.