Nigel Farage steps back into the breach as UKIP leader

Former Prime Minister Harold Wilson once famously said “a week is a long time in politics” and it seems that is particularly true for the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

Nigel Farage, who has already done two separate stints as UKIP leader, quitting the last time after helping to steer Britain to a Brexit vote, is now back at the helm.

The move comes after leader Diane James shocked the party by resigning after only 18 days in the top position.

Mr Farage has now confirmed he will step in to be leader for the third time until a new election is held to find Ms James’ permanent successor.

Even he is seeing the humour in making so many comebacks. In an interview, he said: “I keep trying to escape and before I’m finally free, they drag me back.”

While full details about Ms James reasoning are yet to come to light, she said she was quitting for both professional and personal reasons.

She said: “It is with great regret that I announce that I will not be formalising my recent nomination to become the new leader of the party with the Electoral Commission.

“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 had only become leader on September 16 and had not yet appointed a deputy. Until Mr Farage agreed to take on the mantle, UKIP officials had been unable to say who was leading their party.

Mr Farage has already been UKIP leader from 2006 to 2009 and from 2010 from 2016. It remains to be seen how long his third term will be.

He said he believed Ms James had a change of heart because of both an illness in her family and because she realised that the job was 24/7.

“I think she looked down the barrel of that,” he added, “and thought ‘this is not how I want to live my life’.”

Ms James, a 56-year-old former Conservative councillor who defected from the Tories to UKIP in 2011, is now expected to stay on as an MEP for South East England after her resignation.

No one has yet thrown their hat into the ring to permanently replace her.

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