North East MEP Jonathan Arnott pulls out of UKIP leadership contest
North East MEP Jonathan Arnott has announced he is standing down from UKIP's leadership campaign.
Mr Arnott, 35, who is the MEP for the North East, had been canvassing for support in the north of England, but has now pulled out of the race to be Nigel Farage's successor, as he felt he was destined to be runner-up.
He said: "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."
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 added: "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, said that he wished the future party leader well but has yet to make up his mind which candidate to support.