Ukip is ‘struggling’ and leadership candidates don’t cut it, says Arron Banks
The party’s biggest donor is concerned that Ukip will be pushed to the centre by its next leader.
The four candidates vying for control of Ukip have been blasted by its biggest donor, who questioned whether it was “all over” for the party.
Arron Banks spoke out after last night’s leadership hustings during which one candidate called for the death penalty for paedophiles, but not if the child "looked 18”.
The astonishing proposal was made by John Rees Evans, who is best known in Westminster for his past comments that a gay donkey tried to rape his horse.
Rees Evans is up against Paul Nuttal, Suzanne Evans and Peter Whittle in the race for Ukip leader. In the hustings, Nuttall, said the death penalty should be returned for those who kill children, while Suzanne Evans and Peter Whittle were against the punishment.
Since October 2014, Banks and his firm have donated more than £1.25m to Ukip. The insurance tycoon had previously backed Raheem Kassam, who quit the leadership race earlier this week, citing a lack of support and funding.
The Ukip donor told Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’re struggling at the moment, there’s no point in denying it – I think I’ve backed something like two or three different leaders in the space of three months.
“At the moment, I’m struggling with the candidates on offer.”
He said that Ukip should be "neither right, nor left, it’s got to be radical and it’s got to be anti-establishment".
He added: “My problem with all of the candidates is that they seemingly want to push it to the centre which seems a ludicrous place for it to be.”
Asked if Ukip was finished, Banks did not stamp on the suggestion.
“It could be - it's at a crossroads. I don't know if it's over for Ukip. It's certainly achieved its main goal in politics, which was to get the [EU] referendum and win it,” he said.
The new Ukip leader will be announced on November 28.
Picture by: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/PA Images