Gerard Batten has been banned by his own party from standing again for UKIP leader.
As the nominations were revealed, UKIP’s National Executive Committee claimed that Batten had brought the party into ‘disrepute’ so would be unable to stand again.
The leadership race was called after Batten stepped down in June following a drubbing at the European elections.
Under Batten’s leadership he courted the far-right including the likes of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, known as Tommy Robinson.
He announced his intention to resign on Twitter: “My term as UKIP leader ends today.
“A big thank you to all who have supported my leadership & UKIP over the last 15 months, morally, materially & financially.
“The NEC will now begin a leadership election process, which will see the next leader elected within the next 90 days.”
In a u-turn he announced shortly before nominations closed that he was intending to run again.
Returning officer Piers Wauchope updated members.
He said: “By the time you receive this, you may have heard the news that the NEC ruled on Sunday that Gerard Batten should not be allowed to stand in the coming election for the leadership of the party.
Gerard chose to submit his nomination papers shortly before the deadline for nominations after having said before then that he was not going to stand. Several potential candidates decided not to put in nomination papers that afternoon once they discovered that he was standing after all.”
It has now extended the deadline for nominations until Thursday, after it was revealed Gareth Bennett, Mike Hookem, Ben Walker and Helena Windsor were all in the race.
The new leader would be the fifth since Nigel Farage left the post in 2016.
Batten tweeted: “UKIP’s NEC has passed a motion to prevent me standing for the leadership. I was only going to stand again to prevent the party from folding. What do you think? Should I be allowed to stand or not?”
Supporters of Batten announced their displeasure in response to his tweet.
One replied: “If UKIP’s NEC is in the position of preselecting leaders, it is little wonder that UKIP support is faltering. There has always been an inherent problem within UKIP’s hierarchy that has been destroying it from the inside. I think you’d be mad to stand.”
Another said: “If that’s the final decision I’m cancelling my sub. You’re the only decent politician out there.”
The new leader is expected to be unveiled on 10th August 2019.