UKIP leader Roger Knapman warned his rival Robert Kilroy-Silk yesterday that a leadership election will simply "humiliate" the permatanned former TV presenter.
Mr Knapman struck the latest blow in the bitter tussle as he released the results of a poll of the partyâs branch chairmen, which show that 70 per cent want him as leader, against 13 per cent who would prefer Mr Kilroy-Silk .
Some 146 said that they backed Mr Knapman, against 27 for Mr Kilroy-Silk.
"It is clear that there is no appetite amongst branch chairmen for a leadership election or for a change of leader," he said.
"Mr Kilroy-Silk has a valuable contribution to make as part of the UKIP team, but as a member, not as its leader."
He also criticised the "increasingly erratic and illogical statements" of the East Midlands MEP, which, he said, will "further alienate him from the partyâs membership."
However, Mr Kilroy-Silk was again unable to take the hint, dismissing the poll as "farcical" and claiming that it does not reflect the feeling of the partyâs members.
A Kilroy For Leader Campaign has been set up, headed by the London Assembly UKIP leader Damian Hockney.