UKIP Chairman Paul Oakden, has issued the following statement today:
One of my proudest moments in UKIP so far was standing on our conference stage in Bournemouth and announcing that Diane James had been elected as the new Leader of our party.
Along with many of you, I had hoped that her fresh leadership would cement the continuation of our remarkable journey together. Whilst I remain entirely confident that our party has a strong and vital future, it will sadly not now be under Diane’s leadership.
Diane’s decision not to continue on as Leader will be difficult for us all to accept, but it is a decision that she is perfectly entitled to make. We offer our support, thanks and best wishes to Diane as she returns to focusing on her vital role as a hard working UKIP MEP for the South East.
The evolution of our party over the years has allowed UKIP to become bigger than any one person. The mechanics of our organisation continued to work over the summer, overseeing a leadership election, the resignation of Nigel Farage and organising an incredible conference in Bournemouth. Those same mechanisms will continue to work as we move forward.
I will now look to convene an emergency meeting of our NEC to confirm the process for electing Diane's replacement. This process will be calm, considered and will once again reflect the depth of talent that our party has to offer.
I fully understand that these will be challenging times for our membership, but I also know how capable we are of facing such challenges. Our true resilience often shines through when we’re required to come together, lean on each other and show what a united UKIP can do. That has never been more pertinent than it is now which is why your continued support of our great party - and of each other, is more important than ever.