Isabel Hardman

Exclusive: Nigel Farage ‘never resigned’ from Ukip in ‘stitch up’

Exclusive: Nigel Farage 'never resigned' from Ukip in ‘stitch up'
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It has been alleged that Nigel Farage never formally resigned from Ukip as part of what party sources have told the Spectator was a stitch up to avoid a leadership contest.

It is claimed that the Ukip leader never wrote a letter to the party’s chairman tendering his resignation. He told the media on Friday that he would write to the party resigning. When it met on Monday, it is said the National Executive Committee had still not received a letter. A source tells me that when someone asked where the letter was, they were told ‘it is being typed out as we speak’. The source says the letter never appeared.

Under the party’s constitution, a party leader must ‘communicate his decision to resign in writing to the party chairman, who must then summon an emergency meeting of the NEC within 28 days’. The party’s rules also state that once the party leader has resigned, a leadership election shall be called. It is technically impossible for a written resignation to be refused and no contest to be called, even if everyone on the NEC is opposed to the leader’s resignation. No leadership election was called, which NEC sources say would break the rules - if there was an official written resignation, which they claim there was not. To break these rules could leave the party exposed to expensive legal action.

A source told Coffee House:

‘We were left with no option: we could not challenge something, because there was nothing to challenge. It would have been uncomfortable to continue requesting a letter, given we all knew that had we got our hands on the letter, we wouldn’t have been able to avoid proceeding to a leadership election.’

The source also said that Matt Richardson has not yet sent in a letter of resignation either, which is also supposed to come to the NEC. ‘There are lots of things that are not being done by the book,’ said the figure.

A Ukip spokesman said Farage did offer a handwritten letter of resignation:

'Nigel spoke to them, but was told it needed to be formal and copied to all members. He went out to get that done. Discussions about the situation went on. By the time he returned with the printed version for all members they had decided not to accept his resignation, so handing out the letter was now moot.’

Written byIsabel Hardman

Isabel Hardman is assistant editor of The Spectator. She also presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is author of Why We Get The Wrong Politicians.