Suzanne Evans is no longer UKIP’s deputy chairman. Farage says in a statement:
“I have made some changes to our structure today. Both of our Deputy Chairs are candidates in the upcoming elections and this will limit any role they can play in the national referendum campaign. So I thank Suzanne Evans and Neil Hamilton for their time as Deputy Chairs and announce they will be replaced by Diane James and William Dartmouth.”
Expect to hear from those involved that this is nothing to do with UKIP’s internal politics. Though allies of Farage say this is a putsch against Suzanne, long seen as a threat by the leader’s camp and a supporter of Vote Leave, not Nigel’s preferred Grassroots Out…
UPDATE: A Breitbart story written by Farage’s former aide Raheem Kassam reveals the thinking at Grassroots Out – stripping Evans of the deputy chair role hurts Vote Leave’s bid for the designation:
“Ms. Evans no longer holding a position with the party is also problematic for the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign who have been trumpeting her support as their UKIP “cross party” backing. Now they are limited to one Member of Parliament, one Member of the European Parliament, and one member of the National Executive Committee.”
UPDATE II: Evans speaks:
“I’m naturally disappointed. I felt I was doing a good job and helping to broaden the party’s appeal both in relation to the EU referendum and the upcoming electoral challenges of May 5th and beyond.
I’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ for all the many messages of support I’ve had from UKIP members already today, but I certainly have no intention of being drawn into any disharmony. I of course accept that it is entirely within any party leader’s authority to choose and to change their own top team.”