Diane James quits Ukip - and Nigel Farage gets his own back
The pair have history…
Former Ukip leader Diane James has dramatically quit the party due to "increasingly difficult" relations with her colleagues.
The MEP resigned from the top job in October after an 18-day stint, saying she did not have "sufficient authority" or support in the party to implement her planned reforms.
She has now announced that she will sit as an independent in the European Parliament with immediate effect.
Nigel Farage reacted angrily to the news, arguing that she should instead stand down as an MEP.
The interim Ukip leader first told PoliticsHome: "Nothing she does surprises me."
He later said: “This is yet another act of irrational selfishness from Diane James. This pattern of behaviour says that is she unfit to continue as an MEP. She should do the honourable thing and resign.”
Farage’s angry reaction comes not long after James made him an object of ridicule on social media by screwing her face up and recoiling from a kiss that he tried to give her the party's annual conference in Bournemouth.
Farage had taken to the stage at to congratulate James on her election as Ukip leader in September. But social media users mocked the awkward kiss.
James follows former Ukip MEP Steven Woolfe out of the Ukip exit door. He left the party in October after an altercation with a fellow MEP at the European Parliament in Strasbourg landed him in hospital.
In her statement James said: “My decision to retire from the election process and not complete it was very difficult personally and professionally given that Ukip has dominated my life and all my efforts for over five years.
“In recent weeks my relationship with the party has been increasingly difficult and I feel it is now time to move on. I wish the party well for the future under new leadership.”