Diane James quits as UKIP leader after just 18 days in role

She had written "under duress" in Latin on the official leadership form, suggesting Ms James was not willing to rule the party from the start.

In a posting on Twitter, James explained: 'Obviously I don't have sufficient authority nor support from all of my fellow MEPs and party leaders to implement the changes I consider necessary and on which I based my campaign'.

Nigel Farage says he is technically still the interim leader of the UK Independence Party but does not plan to pursue that role on a permanent basis following the surprise resignation of Diane James.

Ms James, who was a pro-Farage candidate, beat Lisa Duffy, Bill Etheridge, Liz Jones and Phillip Broughton and won with 8,451 out of the 17,970 votes cast, ahead of Ms Duffy, who received 4,591.

But the 52-year-old MEP, the public face of UKIP and one of the leaders of the Brexit campaign, said he had no intention of returning to the post he held for most of the past decade.

Farage was UKIP leader between 2006 and 2009, and then returned to lead the party again between 2010 and 2016.

Douglas Carswell, the party's sole member of parliament, posted the following tweet shortly after speculation began to break regarding James' departure on social media.

Asked if he'd take $20m, he replied: "No I'm not coming back, I'm retired".

But, a party insider said she had been "deeply unhappy" for personal reasons and made a decision to throw in the towel.

Diane James, who was elected as UKIP's new leader just 18 days ago to replace Farage, unexpectedly resigned last night and Farage is taking over before another successor is elected. "It's shepherds pie, by the way".

"I will now look to convene an emergency meeting of our national executive committee to confirm the process for electing Diane's replacement", he said.

He said: "Unfortunately Diane has stood down and the reasons for that are pretty unclear to me".

"I think he'll have to step in temporarily and I don't think there'll be a lot of appetite for a full-blown leaders' contest", major UKIP donor Arron Banks told BuzzFeed News.

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