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Steven Woolfe in furious attack on Ukip bosses after being DENIED chance to replace Farage

STEVEN WOOLFE today reacted with fury after being ruled INELIGIBLE to enter the race to replace Nigel Farage as Ukip leader.

Steven WoolfePA

Steven Woolfe MEP will not be allowed to replace Nigel Farage as Ukip leader


The MEP, who was the heavy favourite to take over from the resigning Mr Farage, has been denied the chance to stand in this summer’s leadership challenge.The decision immediately sparked another round of infighting as the party lurched into a full-scale civil war.

Ukip officials had yesterday vetted leadership candidates after Mr Woolfe’s application was dogged by controversy.

The party’s migration spokesman, who had been backed by Mr Farage’s allies, was forced to deny claims he had previously allowed his Ukip membership to lapse, which would have ruled him out of the leadership election.

He also blamed computer woes for submitting his application to run as leader 17 minutes late last weekend, while he has since admitted he failed to declare an historic drink-driving conviction when standing for election as a Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012.

Announcing the decision today, returning officer Adam Richardson revealed Ukip bosses had ruled out Mr Woolfe’s candidacy on the basis of his late submission.He said: “A National Executive Committee-led panel sat yesterday afternoon to determine the eligibility of those that submitted nomination papers to stand to be UKIP’s new Party Leader.

He added: “By a clear majority of NEC members Steven Woolfe MEP’s application was considered to be ineligible as a result of a late submission and as such he did not meet the eligibility criteria.

“His membership of the Party was not in question.”

Three members of the NEC, Victoria Ayling, Ray Finch and Michael McGough, have resigned in protest at the decision.

In a joint statement, the trio accused their fellow NEC members of “oligarchy, self-promotion and cronyism”.

Mr McGough later blamed a “faction” of the party – including suspended ex-deputy chairman Suzanne Evans and Ukip MP Douglas Carswell – for stirring up trouble.Mr Carswell has insisted he is remaining “absolutely neutral in the leadership contest”.

The remaining candidates to become Ukip’s new leader are MEPs Bill Etheridge, Diane James and Jonathan Arnott, as well as local councillor Lisa Duffy – who is backed by Ms Evans – and Elizabeth Jones and Phillip Broughton.

PA

Diane James is now favourite to replace Mr Farage


Over the course of this leadership election the NEC has proven it is not fit for purpose

Steven Woolfe

Mr Woolfe said he was “extremely disappointed” by the NEC decision, regretting how he would no longer have the opportunity to “inject my ideas, plans and passion into the party”.In a scathing statement, he added: “Over the course of this leadership election, the NEC has proven it is not fit for purpose and it confirmed many member’s fears that it is neither effective nor professional in the way it governs the party.

“The NEC panel have even accepted that they were wrong to raise questions of my membership of the party, as I have been a full member since 2011.

“They did not identify my payments in the UKIP records until I showed them my own bank statements.

“After providing evidence of the payments and donations I have made to the party, they were satisfied this was not an issue.

“They have failed to accept that there were serious issues with the application system despite providing evidence that attempts of submission were made before the deadline. The NEC deny this is the fault of the UKIP system.

??”Furthermore, highly confidential information about me held in party documents has been leaked to the press and the NEC has not sought to investigate this gross breach of privacy.”

Mr Woolfe demanded Ukip “professionalise”, adding: “It cannot do that with an unfit NEC.”Earlier this week, Mr Farage also launched an attack on the party’s NEC, blasting its members as “total amateurs” and “among the lowest grade of people I have ever met”.

Bookies have now installed Ms James, Ukip’s home affairs and justice spokesman, as favourite to be elected the party’s new leader.

Mr Farage’s allies are now expected to rally around the MEP, with a source telling Express.co.uk her candidacy had been rushed through once Mr Woolfe’s troubles became apparent.

But there are also short odds on Mr Farage quitting Ukip and joining a new party before the end of the year.

PA

Local councillor Lisa Duffy is also bidding to be Ukip leader


In the wake of today’s decision, major Ukip donor Arron Banks threatened to bankroll a new breakaway party to take on Labour.He suggested Ukip’s “race has had its run”.

Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said: “Diane James is fast becoming a popular bet with punters and it’s put her in pole position to become the next leader of UKIP following the omission of Steven Woolfe.

“It’s not out of the realms of possibility Farage quits UKIP altogether in order to form a new party before the year’s out.”

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/696140/Ukip-leadership-election-Steven-Woolfe-ineligible-Nigel-Farage

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angela gardner
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I think this is a disgrace and the technical issue that prevented him getting his application in needs investigating!! We the members are not happy!

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