Arron Banks has ended his bid to be elected, less than a week after saying he would stand

Mark Sands
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Rochester and Strood Parliamentary By-Election
Banks will instead back a local Ukip councillor's bid to be elected (Source: Getty)

Ukip backer Arron Banks has formally ended his bid to be elected as an MP, less than a week after first confirming he would stand.

Banks was hoping to dethrone former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell, and confirmed as much when Prime Minister Theresa May called an early General Election last week.

But Carswell later revealed that he would not seek re-election, and now Banks, who had been reportedly considered setting up a pirate radio station on a fishing trawler to support his campaign, has also withdrawn.

In a statement, the insurance broker said he would support Ukip councillor Jeff Bray, instead, adding that we would continue to provide financial assistance to the party.

"Both myself and Nigel [Farage, former Ukip leader] will be campaigning hard in Clacton," Banks said.

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In standing down after such a short campaign, Banks joins a fine tradition within Ukip. Party leader Diane James quit after just 18 days last year.

And Farage protege Raheem Kassam scrapped his own bid to succeed James just hours before the contest was due to formally begin with nominations being confirmed.

Farage himself has confirmed that he will not make an eighth attempt to be elected in the June vote.

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