Ukip Leadership Contender Quits As Nigel Farage Hints At Another Come Back

And then there were five...
Ian Forsyth via Getty Images

Ukip MEP Jonathan Arnott has today quit the race to succeed Nigel Farage as party leader.

The 35-year-old pulled out of the contest after claiming he could only come second in the ballot.

Arnott’s campaign had the support of Ukip’s Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall – who surprised many in the party by not standing.

There are now five candidates battling it out to replace Farage, including MEP Diane James.

In a statement, Arnott said: “There is no prize for a silver medal in a leadership contest.

“We are in the process of electing a new leader of the UK’s third political party.

“This should not be taken lightly, and the only reason for standing is for a candidate to believe that they can meaningfully aim to win the ballot.”

Arnott’s departure from the race comes just a day after Farage hinted that he may return as party leader at some point in the future.

Farage famously ‘unresigned’ after last year’s General Election when he went back on a promise to stand down if he failed to win a the seat of Thanet South.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, the Ukip leader said: “If Brexit wasn’t delivered, then I would have to think seriously about plunging back in.”

He added: “But I hope I don’t have to.”

The race to succeed Farage began in controversial circumstances when bookies’ favourite Steven Woolfe was barred from standing after submitting his nomination papers 17 minutes after the deadline.

Diane James, who has the backing of Ukip donor Arron Banks, does not plan to attend any of the 12 leadership hustings taking place around the country.

The other candidates in the race are MEP Bill Etheridge, local councillor Lisa Duffy, Ukip NEC member Liz Jones and the party’s Hartlepool candidate in 2015 Philip Broughton.