Raheem Kassam, a favourite of Nigel Farage and the alt right, has suspended his bid to win the Ukip leadership race days after launching his campaign.
I have suspended my campaign for UKIP leader. A statement is on my website. Thank you to everyone who supported me. https://t.co/kt4SPfkOLM
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) October 31, 2016
Kassam announced his leadership bid in a pub on Friday, but said meetings over the weekend had convinced him the “path to victory is too narrow”.
He urged followers to back Peter Whittle instead.
In a statement on his campaign website, he claimed MEPs were using party databases to campaign against him, that the media’s treatment of him was “disgraceful” and that he was struggling to raise the funds for a UK-wide campaign.
His decision to withdraw follows that of another hopeful, Steven Woolfe, who also quit Ukip after internal battles culminated in a fist fight with Ukip defence spokesman Mike Hookem.
Kassam, who founded the British edition of the right-wing news website Breitbart, was viewed as the most plausible candidate to beat allies of Farage’s great rival, Douglas Carswell, Ukip’s only MP.
By quitting, he leaves the field open to Suzanne Evans, a former Carswell aide, Paul Nuttall, an MEP seen by some as a unity candidate, David Kurten, John Rees Evans and Peter Whittle.
In September, after Farage declared he was standing down, Ukip elected Diane James as his successor.
However, James quit 18 days later, making Farage de facto leader again and sparking another leadership battle.
This may not be the last we hear of Kassam, though…
Friend of Raheem Kassam suggests he wants to get to US quickly, to help Trump campaign, with view to getting a job if Trump wins
— Michael Crick (@MichaelLCrick) October 31, 2016