Diane James became leader despite being an unlikely favourite, winning support from former leader Nigel Farage and party funders. She won after deputy leader Paul Nuttall refused to join the leadership contest, and after the second favourite in the running Steven Woolfe was disqualified.
Ms James has already published an official statement according to which 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. For personal and professional reasons therefore I will not take the election process further.” Saying it would be her “final media statement on the issue”, the MEP added: “I will continue to concentrate fully on my activities and responsibilities as an elected UKIP Member of the European Parliament”.
Mr Farage stepped down as the leader of the UK Independence Party, declaring that he wanted his “life back” after helping lead the country to vote for Brexit. At UKIP conference, he was replaced by political ally Diane James, who saw off competition from fellow MEP Bill Etheridge, councillor Lisa Duffy, and activists Liz Jones and Phillip Broughton.