However, Woolfe yesterday also admitted he had considered switching to the Conservatives in recent weeks as he was “enthused” by Theresa May’s leadership.
That revelation was met with fury by many in Ukip, with one senior member of his previous leadership campaign team particularly angry.
They told The Huffington Post UK’s Owen Bennett yesterday: “How can people who slated Suzanne Evans and Douglas Carswell for being ‘Tory-lite’ now trust someone who was in talks about defecting to the Tories just days ago, and only thought against it because the leadership became free again?”
In the statement announcing his leadership bid, Woolfe said:
“In the last few weeks I have thought long and hard about my political future and how I can best help build the Brexit Britain we voted for in June – a meritocratic, independent and prosperous country that stands up for the millions of people who have been ignored for too long.
“I have been enthused by the start to Theresa May’s premiership. Her support of new grammar schools, her words on social mobility and the growing evidence that she is committed to a clean Brexit prompted me, as it did many of my friends and colleagues, to wonder whether our future was within her new Conservative Party.
“However, having watched the Prime Minister’s speech on Sunday I came to the conclusion that only a strong UKIP can guarantee Brexit is delivered in full and only our party can stand up for the communities of the midlands and the north.”
Woolfe’s failed leadership campaign was also marred after he admitted forgetting to declare a drink-driving conviction when he stood for election in 2012.
HuffPost UK revealed in August that Woolfe had failed to declare a conviction for drink-driving from 2002 when he stood to be Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012 – a potential breach of electoral law.
Woolfe, a qualified barrister, came last in the PPC election, with just 8.55 per cent of the vote.
With files from Owen Bennett
Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/10/06/ukip-leadership-contender-steven-woolfe-collapses-outside-the-european-parliament_n_12371504.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-politics&ir=UK+Politics