Here we go again. First Steven Woolfe quit Ukip following a row with his MEP colleagues and now it is the turn of Diane James, the former party leader. James has released a statement announcing that she will sit in the European Parliament as an independent — adding by way of explanation that her relationship with the party has become ‘increasingly difficult’. In reply, Nigel Farage has accused her of ‘irrational selfishness’.
Of course, none of this is hugely surprising. James lasted in the role of leader for just 18 days — claiming at the time that despite her election she had no support among the party’s executive. What’s more, Steerpike understands that in recent weeks she had faced further flak from party colleagues over her decision to quit so early on — with several party bods claiming James ought to pay out of her own pocket for the current leadership election, sparked by her resignation. With James out of the party for good, it could well prove costly for the cash-strapped party.