Come back or butt out: Suzanne Evans' message to Nigel Farage
Suzanne Evans has called on Nigel Farage to return as leader of UKIP, or “butt out of any future leadership contest”.
Ms Evans, from Shrewsbury, said that the former UKIP chief had a “duty” to return and take charge of the party after backing “duff” leaders.
She said: “We have had seven leaders, including interims, in quick succession since the EU referendum.
“Every single one of our last three duff leaders have been anointed by Nigel and he has got it spectacularly wrong three times on the trot so I think he should come back and lead the party and sort this mess out.”
Ms Evans’ comments came after she revealed that she could stand for election of the party again, in the wake of Henry Bolton’s sacking by UKIP members over the weekend.
She said the party’s former leader could put pressure on the government over its negotiations with the EU.
Ms Evans, who was also UKIP deputy chairman and lost out in an election for the party’s leadership in 2016, said: “We have a few months before we leave the EU and we need to sort out the cleanest Brexit possible.
“Nigel could do that. He could come back, lead UKIP, we could get a boost in the polls and maybe make the Tory government think twice about the kind of Brexit deal they agree.
“Nigel is paid a lot of money to be a full-time politician in the EU Parliament, he is not paid to be an odd-job politician and a celebrity disc jockey, and I think he has a responsibility to come back and sort this out.”
Ms Evans, who has taken a six month break from politics, said the party needed certainty over the future.
She said: “He needs to stop this, “I might come back, I might not” dance of the seven veils.
“He either comes back or he butts out of any future leadership contest and lets the members take their own decision rather than take his appalling advice. Ms Evans had also received encouragement to stand as her party’s leader from a former Olympian.
Former 400-metre-hurdler Kriss Akabusi questioned why she had not put herself forward to replace Mr Bolton.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “I don’t agree with all you say but have long admired the way you say it. I have wondered then what stops you from throwing your hat in the ring again? I’m not abreast of UKIP politics so it might be quiet obvious but you have been consistently a reasonable voice.”
In response Ms Evans said: “Thank you! Mutual admiration society! I may well have another bash. We shall see.”
Since Nigel Farage quit as leader in the wake of the European Union referendum result in July 2016, UKIP has elected Diane James, Paul Nuttall and Mr Bolton and seen them all go.
Mr Bolton had already suffered a no-confidence vote by the ruling national executive committee (NEC) and a revolt by several senior figures in the party in protest at his relationship with model Jo Marney.
He said he still has “strong affections” for his former girlfriend who sent offensive messages about Meghan Markle.
He revealed he had received a good luck text message from Ms Marney before the extraordinary general meeting – and also one from his estranged wife Tatiana Smurova.
Former soldier Mr Bolton said he feared UKIP would be “taken off the battlefield” of British politics for months as a result of the decision to oust him.