Thanet council leader Chris Wells drops out of the national race to become UKIP Party boss

Chris Wells

Thanet UKIP Party leader Chris Wells has dropped out of the race to become the new national leader of the party.

Former Party leader Paul Nuttall quit after UKIP did not win a single seat at June’s General Election.

Nominations for the leadership close today and there are around 12 people who have expressed interest.

Once nominations are finalised, the party will scrutinise whether all candidates can proceed.

Nigel Farage, Ukip’s former leader has said he will not stand again.

Cllr Chris Wells said of his decision to withdraw from the contest: “I have decided not to proceed to the next stage of the UKIP Party Leadership process. There are two main reasons behind that decision.

“Firstly, it is important that someone from the moderate wing of the party becomes our next Leader. There are already several candidates who would generally qualify for that description, and there is, therefore, a clear risk of splitting the moderate vote and permitting a hard line race based candidate to achieve undeserved success.

“Secondly, my first responsibility as the Leader of UKIP’s only district council still requires and deserves considerable time and attention, particularly in the months between this summer and the early part of next year. It would not be sensible or feasible to divide my time efficiently between the two roles.

“The government’s backsliding around control of our borders, hidden under the guise of ‘transition’; and the magic money tree fairy stories of their current opposition, need and deserve full time rebuttal and exposure. But it is at local government level that the stresses and strains of austerity show most clearly, and whose residents suffer most difficulty. That is where our support needs to be built, be strong and be unified.

“I wish other candidates the success they earn and deserve, and urge all to consider and promote the importance of local government in their forthcoming hustings and plans.”