Steven Woolfe quits Ukip

The former leadership frontrunner branded the party "ungovernable", and said it had entered a "death spiral". 

NS

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Steven Woolfe, the bookies’ frontrunner as the next leader of Ukip, has quit the party, throwing the race to replace Nigel Farage as leader of that party into disarray.

Woolfe, who revealed that he was quitting the party in an article for the Telegraph, lambasted the party as “ungovernable”, and plagued by “infighting and toxicity”.

In damning remarks, the MEP, who will now sit as an independent, said that Ukip “lacks direction, it lacks a purpose and it lacks any semblance of professional organisation”.

Although Woolfe revealed that he had considered joining Theresa May’s new look Conservative party, and describes himself as “enthused” by the new Prime Minister, senior Tory sources are not expecting an immediate defection.

In an interview with the BBC, Woolfe said there was “something rotten” in Ukip, and said the party was in a “death spiral”, beset with a “visceral hatred” of anyone connected with Farage.

It leaves Paul Nuttall, the former deputy leader of Ukip, in pole position as far as the race to become Ukip’s new leader is concerned. The winner of the contest will be announced on 28 November.

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.