By Molly Ambler
In yet another political earthquake, the UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe has quit the party following a very public fight with UKIP MEP Mike Hookam.
Steven Woolfe, in an interview with the BBC, has stated that UKIP is “in its death spiral”, with “something rotten” in the party.
Mr Woolfe had previously been seen to be a frontrunner in the leadership campaign after the resignation of Diane James.
Mr Woolfe has stated that he leaves the party with “a huge amount of sadness”.
The reasons for his departure have been cited as irreconcilable divisions within UKIP, with the divisions creating “huge negative camps”, with a “spiral that is going on that’s bringing it down”.
He also cited that only a “small handful” of UKIP politicians and officials contacted him after the incident with Mr Hookam to ask about his wellbeing.
Further to this apparent discord Mr Woolfe has also cited UKIP as being “ungovernable”, however Mr Woolfe is still serving as an independent MEP until the UK has finalised its divorce from the EU in 2019.
Mr Woolfe furthers this claim remarking he “believes that a strong UKIP would hold this government’s feet to the fire and make sure it delivers a clean Brexit. However, I have come to the conclusion that UKIP is ungovernable without Nigel Farage leading it and the referendum cause to unite it.”
Farage is currently acting as UKIP’s interim leader until they elect a new permanent leader. It is believed that he will not be standing in the leadership election.
In reaction to Mr Woolfe’s departure Mr Hookam has stated “Steven Woolfe’s political career was over once he showed disloyalty to the UKIP party and membership when he held talks to join the Tories.
Steven has been warned about inappropriate behavior by senior UKIP personnel for a year now. We wish him well and hope he can get his life sorted out.”
While the incident between Mr Woolfe and Mr Hookam has been a focal point of Mr Woolfe’s resignation, with many believing that this has been the root cause of his departure he has remarked he is “seeking legal advice in respect of the investigations and will not be commenting further on the matter until the completion of those investigations.”
Mr Woolfe’s resignation coincided with the party announcing there will be a new leader in place by the 28th November.
Nominations for the leadership will open on Monday and will close in two week’s time. There will then be a series of hustings in the first two weeks of November.
The current front-runners are Suzanne Evans, Paul Nuttall and David Coburn. The new leader will certainly facing a difficult challenge in uniting and increasingly divided party.
While UKIP appear to be putting on a brave face in the wake of this resignation, yet there seems to be catastrophic bleeding from the party that no one appears to be able to stem. UKIP may be, for the time being, placing a plaster over their glaring wounds but it is unclear whether this will last.
It is believed that Woolfe has held talks with Brexit Secretary David Davis about a possible defection to the Tory party. Mr Woolfe has previously admitted that he had been “enthused” by Mrs May’s start to her spell in 10 Downing Street.
It appears that UKIP is facing an extremely turbulent future full of infighting and provocative challenges. To the electorate this provokes the question, is this the end of UKIP? It appears that Mr Woolfe believes it is.