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Leader of pro-Brexit UKIP party quits after 18 days

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New leader of the pro-Brexit UK Independence Party (UKIP), Diane James, has stepped down just after 18 days in the role, citing “personal and professional” reasons.

“It is with great regret that I announce that I will not be formalizing my recent nomination to become the new leader of the party,” James said in a statement posted on her Twitter account late Tuesday.

“It has become clear I do not have sufficient authority, nor the full support of all my MEP colleagues and party officers to implement changes I believe necessary and upon which I based my campaign,” she added.

James was elected on September 16 after Nigel Farage announced his shock resignation as leader of UKIP in late June, days after spearheading a successful campaign to take Britain out of the European Union.

To succeed Farage as the new UKIP leader, Jonathan Arnott, Bill Etheridge, Diane James, Lisa Duffy, Phillip Broughton and Elizabeth Jones were on the ballot.

Farage gives a speech at the UKIP Autumn Conference in Bournemouth, on the southern coast of England, on September 16, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

In a June 23 referendum, about 52 percent of British voters opted to leave the EU, while roughly 48 percent of the people voted to stay in the union. More than 17.4 million Britons said the country should leave the bloc as just over 16.14 million others favored remaining in the EU.

However, Britain and the EU have been at odds over a string of issues, particularly the UK’s inclination to remain a member of the European single market after leaving the bloc.

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