POLITICS

Nigel Farage Tells 'Senior Ukip' Figure To Drop Leadership Question Or Quit

15/05/2015 10:33 BST | Updated 15/05/2015 15:59 BST

Nigel Farage has attacked an unnamed "senior figure" in Ukip for demanding a leadership election, following a day of open warfare in the party.

Last night Farage moved to defend his position at the top of Ukip. He insisted he enjoyed a "phenomenal" level of support from colleagues and that a leadership contest would be a "massive, massive mistake".

Farage has been involved in a public dispute with Ukip's only MP, Douglas Carswell, over whether the party should accept hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayer funding.

And yesterday an explosive public row between Farage and senior MEP and campaign manager Patrick O'Flynn led to Farage's chief of staff Raheem Kassam losing his job in the party.

Speaking on Sky News this morning, Farage challenged an unnamed colleague. "There is one senior figure in Ukip briefing everyday consistently. He’s now moved on to there must be a leadership election. That individual must make his mind up whether his future is with Ukip or not," he said.

Kassam, who was in New York as a civil war appeared to engulf the party, told the BBC this morning that Carswell and O'Flynn were bringing the party into "major national disrepute" in the row over Farage's leadership and should leave the party.

"I feel a bit of responsibility in the sense that the characters who brought this up, namely Douglas Carswell and Patrick O'Flynn, are acting on purely selfish terms. They saw me as Nigel's sort of body armour and that if they went after me that they would get to Nigel," he said.

"These people are not acting in the best interests of the party, what they are doing is bringing the party into major national disrepute and I don't think they have a place in the party."

The row comes after Farage was widely mocked for resigning from the leadership after failing to win the South Thanet seat he contested during the general election, only to be reinstated three days later at the urging of the party's executive committee.