Statement by Paul Nuttall:
This morning, I wrote to the Party Chairman to inform of him of my decision to resign as the Leader of UKIP, with immediate effect.
When I took over at the end of last year, with the support of so many of you, I had a plan to unite and rebuild our party. I always knew that in the first year, we would face a difficult set of local elections but I was confident that with a summer of reform we could work on refocusing our party on a new future.
Sadly, things haven't turned out the way we had hoped. Instead of just one, I've led our party through three difficult elections. They were always going to be tough, but I believed in the future of our party and knew that I needed to stay standing, to see us through to calmer waters when we could undertake the changes we needed.
I have done everything in my power to lead from the front and to make our party proud – I really do love UKIP and more than anybody I want it to succeed.
I'm very proud of the campaign we've fought. We have reclaimed our position as the outrider of British politics, daring to speak out on the very real dangers that face our country. For a second time, we stood on a first rate, costed manifesto that offered real options on how to build a safe, prosperous post-Brexit Britain. We made an early decision to stand down in hundreds of seats, to offer Brexit candidates a better opportunity of getting over the line, which has meant that our overall vote share has fallen. Putting our country before party was a decision that you would never see an establishment party take.
Ultimately, it wasn't enough. In an election that was framed by the Prime Minister as being all about Brexit, voters have focused everything on who would be the next Prime Minister and that has undoubtedly led to a return of two party politics – temporarily.
UKIP's time will come again, of that I'm certain. But it will come under a new Leader, who hopefully now has the clear water ahead of them to make the party we all love a success. Whomever that Leader is, they will have my full and loyal support as I return to representing my North West Region from the European Parliament.
Thank you all.