Donor Arron Banks cuts ties with Ukip to focus on his own political plans

 
Mark Sands
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Rochester and Strood Parliamentary By-Election
Banks has bankrolled the party since switching his support from the Tories in 2014 (Source: Getty)

One of Ukip's largest donors has announced that he will sever his links with the party to focus on his own political movement.

Insurance boss Arron Banks has been locked in disputes with the party's sole MP, Douglas Carswell, over a potential honour for former Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

Banks, a close ally of Farage, has repeatedly accused Carswell of undermining the party, most recently claiming that the MP had worked with the Tories to ensure the former Ukip leader was not elected in South Thanet. Carswell has dismissed the accusations.

Read More: It may be all over for Ukip, according to party donor Arron Banks

And after repeatedly threatening to start his own political party, Banks today accused Ukip of allowing his membership to lapse "despite having given considerably more than the annual membership fee over the past 12 months".

"Apparently, my comments about the party being run like a squash club committee and Mr Carswell have not gone down well," Banks added.

"I now realise I was being unfair to squash clubs all over the UK and I apologise to them. We will now be concentrating on our new movement."

A Ukip spokesman said: "Mr Banks was notified last year that his membership was due for renewal at the start of October but chose not to renew despite reminders. With this his membership expired on 1st January 2017.

"It would not be possible to suspend Mr Banks from something of which he is not a member."

A spokesman for Farage declined to comment.

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