Farage rules out return after new Ukip leader quits

LONDON • Mr Nigel Farage yesterday ruled out returning to head up Britain's anti-European Union UK Independence Party (Ukip), a day after its newly nominated leader Diane James suddenly resigned just over two weeks into her new job.

"Not at all. I've done my job," he said when asked by Sky News about the possibility of returning.

"It is time for somebody else to do the job," added Mr Farage, 52, who remains the acting leader of the party until a replacement is found.

Mr Farage was one of the best-known faces of the Brexit campaign and quit following the June 23 vote to leave the EU, saying his life's ambition had been achieved.

Ms James, a Ukip member of the European Parliament, was elected leader on Sept 16 to replace him but the party is riven with internal tensions and faces a larger existential crisis after the Brexit vote.

Ms James, 56, said on Tuesday that she did not have the "full support" of party colleagues and was stepping down "for personal and professional reasons".

The Times newspaper said Ms James felt shaken after being spat at on a train last week and was additionally reluctant to lead Ukip without assurances about the party's funding.

Media reports also suggested she had decided to step down due to her husband's ill health.

Ms Lisa Duffy, the runner-up in the party leadership election, told BBC radio she was not surprised. "I didn't believe this was something that she particularly wanted to do, or had the passion to do," she said.

The party leadership is expected to hold an emergency meeting in the next few days to agree to a timetable for a second leadership election within weeks.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2016, with the headline 'Farage rules out return after new Ukip leader quits'. Print Edition | Subscribe