Diane James quits as UKIP leader after 18 days in charge

The newly elected leader of Britain's UK Independence Party (UKIP) Diane James quit her post Tuesday after just 18 days in charge of the Eurosceptic party.

In a statement published via her Twitter account, James said that she would not be formalising her recent nomination to become UKIP leader for "personal and professional reasons."

UKIP's ruling National Executive Committee is now expected to hold an emergency meeting within days to choose an interim leader as well as agree to a timetable for a second party leadership election.

It is thought that the poor health of James' husband and a recent incident where she was verbally abused and spat at in central London, may have played a role in her stepping down.

But James cited other reasons in her online statement:

"It has become clear that I do not have sufficient authority, nor the full support of all my MEP colleagues and party officers to implement changes I believe necessary and upon which I based my campaign," she wrote.

James initially won the leadership position in a landslide victory on September 16, succeeding Nigel Farage who had led the party for nearly a decade.

He resigned in July following the success of UKIP's campaign to persuade British voters to opt to leave the European Union in the Brexit referendum on June 23.

Following James' resignation, Farage was quick to quash rumours of a comeback saying he would not return to lead the party for a third time: "I'm not coming back, I'm retired."

UKIP chairman Paul Oakden said on Tuesday that James' decision was "unfortunate" but "one that Diane is entitled to make." She will continue in her role as MEP, he said.

Just last month, in her maiden speech as party leader, James had demanded a "100 per cent Brexit" and had urged the government to accelerate processes for the country to leave the European Union.

She had also expressed the hope that the party would become the country's second strongest conservative party, behind the Tories.

Last update: Wed, 05/10/2016 - 10:18

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