Raheem Kassam has pulled out of the UKIP leadership race, leaving Suzanne Evans, Paul Nuttall, John Rees Evans and Peter Whittle still contending the party’s leadership.

See BBC News

UK Independence Party leadership candidate Raheem Kassam has pulled out of the race just three days after the official launch of his campaign.

The former aide to leader Nigel Farage said he was not “satisfied about the integrity of the process”.

In a statement announcing his withdrawal, Mr Kassam said those at the top of UKIP were treating the contest “like a coronation”, adding he was “not satisfied about the integrity of the process”.

ITV News

Nigel Farage’s former aide Raheem Kassam has condemned a lack of “integrity” in Ukip’s leadership process as he pulled out of the race to become party leader.

Kassam had been considered among the three frontrunners to succeed Farage but said “the path to victory is too narrow”.

In a statement on his Make Ukip Great Again campaign website, he said “the top of the party is treating this like a coronation” and said complaints he had made to the party chairman had not been acted on.

Sky News

Raheem Kassam, a former aide to Nigel Farage, has dropped out of the race to become the next leader of UKIP.
In a statement, Mr Kassam said he had come to realise “the path to victory is too narrow” and urged his backers to support former London mayoral candidate Peter Whittle.
He revealed he could not raise enough money for his leadership bid to be any more than a digital campaign based in Westminster, and also complained of “disgraceful treatment by the media”.

Here is Raheem Kassam’s statement which was sent to his supporters:

I am suspending my campaign.

As of today, I am formally suspending my campaign for UKIP leader.

After much consideration, I have decided not to pursue my campaign to be UKIP leader any further. This was a very difficult decision, and I want to thank everyone who supported me in the process.

It is a decision I have not taken lightly, but following meetings this weekend I realised the path to victory is too narrow. I would encourage my supporters to back Peter Whittle, who I think would make a fantastic leader of the party.

On their own, the following issues would not have caused me to take this decision, but taken together, the following reasons created an impossible route forward for me:

1. The top of the party is treating this like a coronation: I am not satisfied about the integrity of the process, and having put a number of complaints in to the party chairman, I was disappointed that incidents whereby Members of the European Parliament are using party databases to effectively campaign against me – ostensibly against the rules – were not challenged.

2. Disgraceful treatment by the media: I am tough and I can take it, but when Times journalists show up at my elderly parents’ house at dusk, intimidating them, I draw the line. Billy Kenber at the Times has a lot to answer for and I will be pursuing a harassment complaint further.

3. Fundraising: While we raised enough for our deposit, and got over 200 assentors to my nomination, we could not raise enough for this to be more than a digital campaign run from SW1, and to not feature at events all around the country would have made me a hypocrite, given how much I criticise the establishment for ignoring the country.

Over the next few weeks I will be providing a statement of accounts for all my donors, and in-keeping with my money pledge on my website, I will be giving them the choice as to what happens with the remainder of the money they donated. I will suggest we either: donate to the Royal British Legion or Help for Heroes, donate to the party, donate to Peter Whittle’s campaign. Those who want refunds are welcome to contact me.

I wish the UK Independence Party and whoever its new leader is all the best in ensuring Brexit happens, and in the upcoming electoral tests next year. I remain commited to the causes of the UK Independence Party, but sadly, at this campaign, it was a bridge too far for us.

I will be continuing at my job as Editor in Chief of Breitbart London, returning to the United States this week to cover the last leg of the presidential elections.

Kind regards,

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