Katy Balls Katy Balls

Ukip’s woes

Although Downing Street insists Nigel Farage will not be the UK’s ambassador to the US, on Wednesday night the interim Ukip leader tasted what that would be like. At a party at the Ritz to honour his contribution to the Brexit campaign, Farage handed out Ferrero Rocher chocolates to guests as he hailed the new world order. ‘In America the revolution is total,’ Farage announced. ‘In this country, the people have spoken, but the same players have just been shuffled around the chess board and we are still being run by the career professional political class.’

With Farage’s close ties to Donald Trump, speculation grows that he now envisages his interests best served across the pond. The Times reports today that he is planning a new life in the USA, though Farage has since dismissed the story as ‘nonsense’. Either way it’s becoming clear that Ukip is no longer Farage’s no.1 priority. On Monday, he will hand the reins to the next leader – expected to be Paul Nuttall – after a lacklustre leadership contest that has generated little media interest. The new leader will have a job on their hands.

Since the Leave vote, Ukip has struggled to capitalise on the post-referendum moment. While the Labour party isolates itself from its once core working-class voters, Ukip ought to be sweeping up disillusioned members. Instead, they have become known for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. This week Diane James joined the growing list of MEPs to choose to go independent rather than be aligned with the beleaguered party. Ukip’s appeal to financiers, too, seems on the wane.

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