Nigel Farage has become a "snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive" man who is turning Ukip into a "personality cult", the party's campaign chief has said in a stunning attack on his leader.
Ukip's economics spokesman Patrick O'Flynn blew open simmering tensions within the party in an interview with The Times, saying Mr Farage was no longer the "cheerful, ebullient, cheeky, daring" politician of recent times.
Mr O'Flynn said the Ukip leader's behaviour risked the party being seen as an "absolute monarchy" and blamed Mr Farage's "aggressive" and "inexperienced" advisers.
He called for Mr Farage to adopt a "much more consultative and consensual leadership style".
Mr O'Flynn's comments come after Mr Farage was widely mocked for resigning as leader after failing to win the South Thanet seat he stood for in the General Election, only to be reinstated three days later after the party's National Executive Committee rejected his resignation.
Mr O'Flynn told The Times: "What's happened since Thursday night, Friday morning has certainly laid us open to the charge that this looks like an absolutist monarchy or a personality cult.
"I don't think that even Nigel would say it's been the most glorious chapter of his leadership."
He said Mr Farage's campaign team must "reflect" on the failure to win in Thanet South, despite the party gaining control of the local council.
Reaction on Twitter to O’Flynn’s comments seemed suggested the public believe the party may be on the verge of crumbling.
Callum Delhoy tweeted: “Patrick O'Flynn's revolt is pretty hilarious, really shows how much @UKIP completely falls apart when it's not united under @Nigel_Farage.”
User @Stanleyly posted: “I don't know about you but I'm enjoying UKIP crumbling. Now Patrick O'Flynn and Douglas Carswell are roasting at Nigel Farage. Hilarious.”
Tim Foxy added: “Excellent to see Ukip imploding.”
Nigel Farage is a dictatorial thug says Ukips election campaign director Patrick O'Flynn. Ukip is imploding— Andrew Pierce (@toryboypierce) May 14, 2015
Douglas Carswell and Patrick O'Flynn providing combined examples of UKIP's implosion #UKIP— Connor Naismith (@connaismith) May 14, 2015
Nigel Farage, Patrick O'Flynn, their ONLY MP & ukip party HQ all at war with each other?
Made my day, it really has!— Hooty McSquawk (@DrSwoopy) May 14, 2015
Party donor Arron Banks told the BBC that Farage’s chief of staff and another adviser were "out of control" and "dragging Nigel down".
Ths businessman, who gave Ukip £1million last year said that Ukip’s internal machinery “needs to sorted”.
He did, however, say that Farage had “given his all” to the party and "deserved a rest rather than petty squabbling from lesser people".
Meanwhile, a separate row has broken out as Ukip's only MP is resisting pressure from the party to claim £650,000 of taxpayers' money to fund up to 15 additional members of staff.
In a meeting with Mr Farage, Douglas Carswell refused to budge from his position that he will not take the cash, which is available to him from public "Short money" allocated to opposition parties to help cover their parliamentary costs.
Party sources said that the meeting ended without a final decision being reached on what to do about the money.
Parties in the House of Commons receive around £16,700 per seat, as well as an additional £33.33 for every 200 votes won nationally in the General Election.
Under the system, operating since 1975, the money can be claimed by any party with two or more seats in the Commons, or parties with one seat which won more than 150,000 votes across the country.
Because Ukip secured almost 3.9 million votes, but only one Commons seat, Mr Carswell is entitled to far more Short money than any other MP.
But the MP said it would be "completely inappropriate" to take the money.