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Party plunged into bitter in-fighting

By Staff Reporter

Published 04/08/2016

Ukip is facing a "fight for survival" after popular leadership hopeful Steven Woolfe was excluded from the race to replace Nigel Farage, it has been claimed.

Three members of the party's ruling board immediately quit in protest, claiming he had been deliberately blocked on a technicality. Mr Woolfe said he was "extremely disappointed" and branded the National Executive Committee (NEC) "not fit for purpose". The decision plunged the party into a fresh round of bitter in-fighting and fuelled claims that it would split. Supporters claimed Mr Woolfe had been the victim of a coup led by Ukip's only MP, Douglas Carswell, and Welsh leader Neil Hamilton.

The MEP had been the favourite to take the top job but was 17 minutes late submitting his nomination papers, blaming technical difficulties for the delay. NEC members said that meant his application was "ineligible", and voted to block his candidacy by a "clear majority".

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