Lord Pearson of Rannoch, who defected from the Conservatives in 2007, is to step down from leadership of the UK Independence Party after less than a year in the job.
In his resignation statement, Pearson said that he was “not much good” at party politics and that Ukip “deserved a better politician . . . to lead it”.
Few would argue with that, after a generally poor election campaign. Pearson’s credibility was damaged particularly badly in a disastrous interview with Jon Sopel, in which he appeared to be unfamiliar with his own manifesto:
The 68-year-old was elected to the position after the previous leader Nigel Farage stepped down to focus on contesting the Speaker John Bercow’s Buckingham seat at the general election.
Farage, who suffered severe injuries in a plane crash on polling day, did not rule out throwing his hat back into the ring. Speaking on the Today programme, he said:
I’m not going to say I’m absolutely not going to do the job again, but I’ve got to decide in the wake of that accident whether I’m strong enough to take the job on.
The other problem is I’m still leading a group in the European Parliament in Brussels, can I do that and lead a party in the UK?
In an overlooked aspect to this story, Pearson has given some indication of what he will do next: he wants to spend more time with his dogs and family, and focus on his “wider interests”. This rather random list of interests includes — wait for it — “the treatment of people with intellectual impairment, teacher training, the threat from Islamism and the relationship between good and evil”.
Pearson’s preoccupation with Islam has been well documented (click here for more details of his unpleasant rants on the subject). But intellectual impairment? Treatment?! I, for one, eagerly look forward to seeing how Pearson pursues these goals.