North East MEP stands down from UKIP leadership race

UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott
UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott

Jonathan Arnott, UKIP's MEP for the North East, is standing down from the party’s leadership campaign.

Mr Arnott had been garnering support in the North of England for his campaign and attended hustings in various venues.

However, the 35-year-old has now decided to stand aside having concluded that he would only come second in the national ballot.

“There is no prize for a silver medal in a leadership contest. We are in the process of electing a new leader of the UK's third political party. This should not be taken lightly and the only reason for standing is for a candidate to believe that they can meaningfully aim to win the ballot,” he said.

Mr Arnott said that his campaign has been about party unity and internal reform and “in a smaller field of candidates there would have been a massive chance for a uniting, positive, compromise candidate to win. But that is not the race that we are in.”

He said UKIP must become a grown-up political party which is capable of taking on the political establishment on their own grounds.

“I want to see a UKIP which isn't frightened to talk about the economy, a UKIP which will discuss the future of our NHS, a UKIP which champions excellence in education which goes far beyond grammar schools, a UKIP which has at its core a belief in people power and direct democracy, and a UKIP which will declare war on the crime which blights so many working-class communities. I want to see a UKIP which is more professional in taking the fight to our opposition in the target seats.”

Mr Arnott, a former maths teacher who lives near Middlesbrough, concluded by saying that he wished the future party leader well but has yet to make up his mind which candidate to support.