A Ukip MEP has quit the party in protest at Henry Bolton’s leadership – and also claimed there is no one who could do any better.
Jonathan Arnott, MEP for the North East, launched an astonishing attack on his now former colleagues in his resignation statement, blasting the “sewer” of party politics.
Arnott’s decision will heap further pressure on Ukip leader Henry Bolton, who faces a showdown meeting with the party’s National Executive Committee on Sunday over whether he can continue in his role.
Many in the party are furious with Bolton for leaving his wife over Christmas for party activist Jo Marney – who was later suspended from Ukip after racist text messages from her about Meghan Markle were leaked to the media.
In his resignation statement, Arnott – who was once knocked-out by a Lib Dem in a chess boxing match – said: “I believed my party to be different, or at least to be capable of becoming something different. I, like so many others, believed it to have potential and I continued to believe in that potential long after the evidence no longer supported it – out of loyalty to the many honest, hard-working members who still believed in it.
“Yet the unpleasant nature – the Steven Woolfe fracas, the Diane James fiasco, the Anne-Marie Waters debacle, the John-Rees Evans bizarreness, the countless leaks, briefings and character assassinations – became almost as bad as the political establishment I had hoped to counter.
“Perhaps there have been occasions where I have been sucked into that atmosphere of negativity and nastiness. If that has happened, I unreservedly apologise.
“With yet another new Leader came new forlorn hope. Over the last week it has become abundantly clear that the current Leader is not the right person for the job, but likewise that those jockeying for position and hoping to take his job would be no better.
“Politics has always been like that, but as true believers in a cause, we always thought ourselves to be different. Once, maybe, but no longer.”
Arnott’s resignation from the party means that of the 24 Ukip MEPs elected in 2014, five are no longer in Ukip.
Amjad Bashir defected to the Tories in January 2015; Janice Atkinson was expelled from Ukip over an expenses scandal; Diane James quit the party after resigning as leader after just 18 days in the job; and Steven Woolfe resigned after a fracas with another MEP left him in hospital.