‘No good at party politics’: Ukip leader steps down

By Ian Dunt

Lord Pearson has stepped down as Ukip leader, admitting he is not “cut out” for party politics.

The 68-year-old had a difficult period taking over the right-wing party after Nigel Farage stepped down to take on Speaker John Bercow in the general election.

An uncertain performer in front of the cameras, one interview saw him fail to remember key parts of the manifesto he was running on.

In a fairly typical statement from the former leader expressing his humour and deeply right-wing views, he told supporters that he would spend his time fighting Islamism and taking care of his pets.

“I have learnt that I am not much good at party politics, which I do not enjoy,” he said.

“I am also 68, and need to give more time to my wider interests. These include the treatment of people with intellectual impairment, teacher training, the threat from Islamism and the relationship between good and evil – not to mention my dogs and my family.”

Lord Pearson said he had timed his departure to give a “younger” leader time to bed in before the next election, “which may come sooner than we think”.

An interim leader will be chosen at Ukip’s annual conference next month.

Thoughts instantly turned to Mr Farage, whose stint as party leader was considered a success.
A talented media spokesperson with a gift for soundbites, Mr Farage is still recovering from a light aircraft crash he was involved in on polling day.

“I hadn’t really considered this until a few hours ago when Malcolm [Lord Pearson] told me of his decision,” he told the Today programme.

“I’m not going to say I’m absolutely not going to do the job again but I’ve got to decide in the wake of that accident whether I’m strong enough to take the job on.

“The other problem is I’m still leading a group in the European parliament in Brussels, can I do that and lead a party in the UK?”