UKIP MEP Patrick O’Flynn lashes out at ‘snarling, thin-skinned’ Nigel Farage

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UK Independence Party MEP Patrick O’Flynn has lashed out as party leader Nigel Farage, amid worsening feuds within UKIP.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage initially fulfilled his promise to stand down last Friday, after he was beaten by Tory Craig MacKinlay in the South Thanet constituency.

However, just three days later the politician withdrew his resignation – claiming the party’s execs had convinced him to stay on as leader.

Former Daily Express journalist Patrick O’Flynn, who was elected last year as a UKIP Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, has become one of a string of figures to speak out against the decision in a Times interview.

Mr O’Flynn, who was previously a loyal ally of Mr Farage, said he had become “snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive” amid the party’s electoral woes.

He said: “What’s happened since Thursday night, Friday morning has certainly laid us open to the charge that this looks like an absolutist monarchy or a personality cult.

“I don’t think that even Nigel would say it’s been the most glorious chapter of his leadership.”

Reflecting on the fact the party prevailed in local council elections in Mr Farage’s seat, he said: “The team around Nigel himself need to reflect why it was that Thanet voted in a Ukip council but didn’t vote in Nigel as the MP for Thanet South.”

It comes as former MEP Godfrey Bloom attacked Nigel Farage on the Victoria Derbyshire show, calling for a leadership election to be held.

Prior to the election, another UKIP MEP Diane James suggested Mr O’Flynn was one of a number “waiting” to replace Nigel Farage in case of election defeat.

She said: “We have a very high calibre of individuals within UKIP. They are frequently on the BBC and other media outlets: Suzanne Evans, Patrick O’Flynn, Paul Nuttall.

“There are people there waiting… when the leadership race is announced, I’m sure individuals will put their hats into the ring.”

During Mr Farage’s brief resignation, Suzanne Evans served as acting leader.

Patrick O’Flynn last year defended former candidate Kerry Smith when he was recorded on a foul-mouthed tirade about “poofters” and the party’s “f**king disgusting” LGBT group.

Mr O’Flynn said that Mr Smith was not “seriously homophobic” and dismissed calls for him to be sacked for the remarks – though he eventually was.