Paul Nuttall could become only second major party leader to sit out a general election since Lord Salisbury in 19th century

24 Apr

Paul Nuttall could become only the second serving leader of a major party not to stand in a general election for more than a century after he hinted he might sit out the snap poll.

The UK Independence Party leader repeatedly refused to say he would stand to be an MP in the June 8 election, prompting claims he was “chickening” out.

Mr Nuttall is weighing up whether standing as a Parliamentary candidate will leave him spread too thinly. He will also be keen to avoid a repeat of his humiliating defeat in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election in February.

Mr Nuttall left a press conference announcing the party’s social integration policies at a central London hotel on Monday and took refuge in a side room as reporters asked him if he would stand in the election.

Emerging after 10 minutes, and under repeated questioning, Mr Nuttall suggested he might not stand after all.

He said that “Ukip leaders have done pretty well before not being MPs”, in a reference to the party’s former leader Nigel Farage who failed seven times to be elected as an MP.

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