Patrick O’Flynn quits as Ukip spokesman with blast at party's ‘Thatcherite’ direction
A top Ukip MEP has quit his key role because of the "Thatcherite" direction the party is heading in.
Patrick O'Flynn said he standing down as economics spokesman with immediate effect.
The former journalist said his position had become untenable because all of the candidates vying to the Ukip leader disagree with his approach.
In a blog on his website, Mr O'Flynn said said he has always argued for Ukip to be "at the common sense centre of politics" rather than right-wing.
He said: "It is clear to me that UKIP’s activist base wishes to go in a more libertarian, shrink-the-state and Thatcherite direction when it comes to economic policy.
“Every leadership candidate I have heard appears to disagree with me about our economic approach. So rather than hanging around to obstruct a new leader, I have decided to make way now.
“I will concentrate instead on campaigning for the best possible Brexit during my remaining time as an MEP.
“I do feel it is a regrettable that the more centrist approach argued for by the likes of me and Suzanne Evans is falling by the wayside in UKIP. But I also acknowledge that shrink-the-state libertarianism is more deeply embedded within the DNA of the party than I had appreciated."
The leadership election was triggered after Paul Nuttall quit when the party’s support collapse in June’s general election.
Candidates who have declared they will be standing include John Rees-Evans who last year drew criticism after he claimed a homosexual donkey raped his horse, and Mike Hookem who allegedly punched fellow MEP Steven Woolfe.
It is the second time Mr O'Flynn has stood down from his role as Ukip's economic spokesman.
He first resigned following the 2015 general election, claiming Nigel Farage had become “snarling, thin-skinned and aggressive” because he was surrounded with a “poisonous” inner circle.
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