Etheridge Quits Leadership Race & Calls For ‘Unity’ Candidate To Emerge
In a story first broken by Kipper Central earlier today, we can now also confirm that Bill Etheridge MEP has become the first of 12 declared candidates to officially withdraw from the UKIP leadership race. Etheridge (pictured above) told a press conference in Wolverhampton that he now planned to act as a ‘broker’ to ensure that a candidate emerged that was capable of beating ‘far-right frontrunner’ Anne Marie Waters.
The Express & Star, Etheridge’s local paper, reported as follows:
The West Midlands MEP says he fears anti-Muslim candidates’ Anne Marie Waters and Peter Whittle could win September’s leadership election due to a plethora of libertarian contenders splitting the traditional UKIP vote.
There are currently 11 candidates to replace Paul Nuttall as UKIP leader.
Announcing his decision at Molineux, Mr Etheridge said he wants to act as a broker for candidates from his side of the party to ‘come together’ in the face of the far right threat.
“I am backing down from this race to take leadership of the situation,” he said.
“This is bigger than egos. This is bigger than individuals. This is about the future of the party and the future of Brexit.”
Candidates for UKIP leader include MEPs’ Jane Collins and Mike Hookem, as well as Henry Bolton, who came second in the Kent police and crime commissioner election in 2016 and former leadership candidate John Rees-Evans.
Mr Etheridge, who came third in last November’s leadership election, went on to call on Nigel Farage to give the party guidance over who should get the top job.
He also confirmed he will quit UKIP if either Mr Whittle or Ms Waters become leader.
Westmonster Dave is the editor of alt-politics.com