Nigel Farage’s chief of staff has left his post as the Ukip leader faces rapidly rising pressure to hold on to his job.
Mr Farage, who sensationally withdrew his resignation as Ukip leader on Monday at the urging of party’s ruling committee, has faced a surge of infighting in the wake of the party’s failure to win more than a single seat at last week’s General Election.
Top donor Stuart Wheeler has called for Mr Farage to quit for the second time in a week, while election campaign director Patrick O’Flynn claimed Mr Farage was turning the party into a “personality cult” at the urging of his private staff.
Two of those team members — chief of staff Raheem Kassam and party secretary Matthew Richardson — appear to have left the party within hours of the storm breaking.
Mr Kassam said: “I was General Election 2015 staff. My contract has always expired at the end of this month and I am on holiday until then. I continue to support the party under the leadership of Nigel Farage.”
A Ukip spokesman said Mr Kassam “no longer works for Ukip”.
Sources at the party earlier suggested that Mr Richardson had offered his resignation in a bid to calm the growing row.
Mr O’Flynn, who began yesterday’s storm with an interview in The Times, told the Press Association: “I may well have burnt my bridges but it had to be said.
“I’m not in politics to pursue personal seniority but to persuade the British public that we are good enough to govern ourselves away from the EU.
“I can’t imagine I’ve done myself any favours within the party but the British people will soon face the biggest choice in several generations over the EU referendum.
“In order to maximise our chance in that vote, we need a leadership which broadens and doesn’t narrow our political horizons.
“There are a couple of advisers who are pushing Nigel in the wrong direction both in terms of policy and style of leadership.”
Spread betting tycoon Mr Wheeler, a former party treasurer who donated almost £100,000 to help fund Ukip’s general election campaign, told BBC Radio 5 Live that Mr Farage should go.
He said: “I would like him to step down, at least for the moment. And if he wants to put himself up in an election, he has every right to do so, though I personally would prefer somebody else now.”
With the prospect of an in/out referendum on Europe, Mr Wheeler said “the type of campaign that’s needed has to be slightly less aggressive and more towards winning over people in the centre”.
Mr Farage announced he was quitting the leadership after defeat in South Thanet as he had repeatedly promised during the campaign.
But when the national executive committee considered the letter on Monday, they rejected it and persuaded Mr Farage to stay on.
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