Well, when Nigel Farage said he might come back as Ukip leader, we didn’t expect it would be quite so soon. Today the party’s NEC unanimously rejected Farage’s resignation, on the basis that the Ukip membership did not want him to go.
Steve Crowther, Chairman of UKIP, said:
‘The NEC also concluded that UKIP’s general election campaign had been a great success. We have fought a positive campaign with a very good manifesto and despite relentless, negative attacks and an astonishing last minute swing to the Conservatives over fear of the SNP, that in these circumstances, 4 million votes was an extraordinary achievement. On that basis Mr Farage withdrew his resignation and will remain leader of UKIP. In addition the NEC recognised that the referendum campaign has already begun this week and we need our best team to fight that campaign led by Nigel. He has therefore been persuaded by the NEC to withdraw his resignation and remains leader of UKIP.’
It is not clear whether the Labour NEC will follow suit with Ed Miliband’s resignation. But what is clear is that the party feels that none of the candidates to succeed Farage can match his magnetism or ability to hold the party together. Which, in spite of the fact that Suzanne Evans and Paul Nuttall are impressive in their own ways, is probably true.