Ukip's war of words has been renewed after party donor and Nigel Farage ally Arron Banks claimed that his party membership had been suspended on Tuesday (14 March).

The Leave.EU co-founder said Ukip officials made the move because he claimed the party's leadership "couldn't knock the skin of a rice pudding".

Banks' claim triggered a briefing war with a senior Ukip source, who told journalists that Banks' membership had lapsed.

But a source close to the insurance tycoon told IBTimes UK that the account was "b******t". "[Ukip chairman Paul] Oakden and [party treasurer John] Bickley could not run a jumble sale...and that's being kind," the source added.

The row comes in the wake of the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election in February. Ukip leader Paul Nuttall failed to capitalise on the 68% of Stoke residents who backed a Brexit and defeat Labour's pro-EU candidate Gareth Snell.

Banks urged Nuttall to make him chairman in a bid to "professionalise" the party, but the Ukip leader turned down his offer. The businessman has also promised to run against Ukip's sole MP Douglas Carswell at the 2020 general election.

Carswell, who defected from the Conservative in 2014, has had a turbulent relationship with Farage. "Quite why Douglas Carswell joined a party when he disagrees with all of their main policies and all of their key personnel, I don't know," Farage told reporters in February.

"But I do think that if the party was freed of him Paul would be able to lead the party unencumbered."

UPDATE: 14 March 2017

A source close to Banks admits to IBTimes UK that his membership has lapsed. "He reapplied and was told it was suspended pending [to] be called into the NEC," the source said.

Banks has now released a full statement on the matter.

"UKIP has somehow managed to allow my membership to lapse this year despite having given considerably more than the annual membership fee over the past 12 months," he said.

"On reapplying I was told my membership was suspended pending my appearance at a NEC meeting.

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

"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."