Ukip’s deputy leader fears the party is tearing itself apart after the ‘Brexit’ victory, and has called for an end to “worrying party infighting” and a new leader that rejects “testosterone-fuelled, machismo”.
Breaking his silence amid the shambolic election to replace Nigel Farage, Paul Nuttall warns: “It is as if once the party had won its battle with the European Union, it looked around for something else to fight - and it chose itself.”
The intervention comes after frontrunner Steven Woolfe was excluded from the contest after breaching party rules by submitting his nomination papers 17 minutes after Sunday’s midday deadline. The Huffington Post revealed the error last week.
The exclusion of Woolfe, seen as the preferred candidate of Farage and Ukip donor Arron Banks, prompted three members of the party’s ruling NEC committee to resign in protest.
It is as if once the party had won its battle with the European Union, it looked around for something else to fight - and it chose itself. Paul Nuttall
Nuttall, who has ruled himself out of the job, said tonight that he “intended to sit on the side lines”, but: “I’ve now decided to become involved following worrying party infighting.”
“I have sat there for the past few weeks watching with growing incredulity and with an even bigger sense of trepidation, because I no longer see positive stories about our party.
“All I read are stories about infighting, insults, threats, and potential expulsions. It is as if once the party had won its battle with the European Union, it looked around for something else to fight - and it chose itself.”
The candidates in the race will now be:
- Cllr Bill Etheridge MEP
- Diane James MEP
- Elizabeth Jones
- Jonathan Arnott MEP
- Cllr Lisa Duffy
- Philip Broughton
Of the new leader, Nuttall said:
“The new leader will have a clean slate and will have the mandate to deal with these issues head on.
“And I don’t mean in a testosterone-fuelled, machismo fashion: I mean by skillful negotiation and compromise.
“The next leader must seek immediately to put back together a party which is increasingly fractured ….. the next leader must seek and commit to leading ‘a party of all talents.’
“That means seeking to put the past differences behind us and finding the issues that bring us together and not those that divide us.”