UK Politics

UKIP turmoil returns after Diane James resignation

Diane James Image copyright Reuters

On being elected UKIP's leader less than three weeks ago, Diane James was clear she wanted to change the party and the way it was run.

But in her statement announcing her resignation, Ms James suggested some at the upper echelons were never fully on board.

She said while she had won the support of members, she did not have the full backing of UKIP's MEPs or party officers to implement the changes she felt necessary, prompting her decision to step aside.

The statement also referenced personal reasons - thought to be family illness, as well as abuse she received since her election.

It was largely unexpected though, even among some senior party figures who expressed surprise or even shock at the timing.


Ms James took over UKIP at a time when it was beset by rifts and infighting.

There were different factions within the party that were struggling to come together and agree on its future direction.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Nigel Farage congratulates his successor after her election at UKIP's annual conference

When elected, she made a point of saying that the focus for her was on unity - the party needed to get behind her and rally around.

She wanted to make some changes about the way the party was governed, how its ruling body, the national executive committee, ran things.

Reading between the lines of her statement, it seems she does not feel she can continue do that.

We can assume she thinks the job was just too big or she did not have the support of her colleagues within UKIP.

Real high

UKIP members have gone through a strange period.

They won the EU referendum in their eyes. They got what they wanted. The party after that moment was on a real high.

Image copyright Matt Cardy

At their conference in Bournemouth you could really sense that euphoria but at the same time they had Nigel Farage - the man people credit with UKIP's success - resign.

So people looked to the next leader for some sort of stability and viewed Ms James as the best option for that.

She was the clear frontrunner and yet has decided she cannot continue so this now will throw UKIP back into a state of turmoil and division.

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