Arron Banks tells Paul Nuttall: Make me Ukip chairman or I will withdraw funding
Arron Banks has told Paul Nuttall he will pull his funding from Ukip unless he is made party chairman.
The high-profile donor, a close ally of former leader Nigel Farage, said he would use the chairmanship to “purge” Douglas Carswell, the party’s only MP, from Ukip.
He also threatened to establish a rival political movement to Mr Nuttall’s “ramshackle administration” if the leadership did not accede to his demands.
Mr Banks told the Sunday Express: “I am giving Paul Nuttall an ultimatum that either I become chairman and sort out Ukip by bringing in business people and professionals to make it electable or I am out of there.
“The party cannot continue to be run like a jumble sale. If Nuttall doesn’t professionalise it and toss out the likes of Douglas Carswell and the rest of the Tory cabal then the party is finished anyway.”
Mr Nuttall finished second in last week’s Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, despite Ukip throwing significant resources at the Brexit-backing seat in the hope that he would become just their third elected MP.
The Stoke defeat was the “final straw” for Mr Carswell’s role in Ukip, Mr Banks claimed, because the Tory defector had not won over enough Conservative voters in the seat.
“Mr Carswell is a career politician and doesn’t care about Ukip. He has got to get out. So my first job as chairman would be to purge the party of these sorts of people.
“Carswell is welcome to go back to the Tories or stand as an independent but he will not be welcome under the Ukip banner. He has always been a green-eyed, jealous monster when it comes to Nigel.”
Meanwhile, Mr Farage has been dining with Donald Trump in the US – and Mr Banks hinted that the former leader was drifting away from the party.
“At the moment Nigel is fed up and could be heading in a different direction purely out of frustration,” Mr Banks said.