North East MEP Jonathan Arnott has quit the race to succeed Nigel Farage and become Ukip's next leader, admitting he could not win the contest. The 35-year-old said the best he could achieve would be second place.

"There is no prize for a silver medal in a leadership contest. We are in the process of electing a new leader of the UK's third political party," Arnott declared in a 15 August statement.

"This should not be taken lightly, and the only reason for standing is for a candidate to believe that they can meaningfully aim to win the ballot. I do not subscribe to the view that anyone should stand to raise their own profile; we are in the middle of a very serious endeavour.

"I have also been let down badly by those who have said one thing in private and done another in public. That's politics, but Ukip should be better than that."

The move means five candidates are left in the Ukip leadership election, following the party's decision to block migration spokesman and MEP Steven Woolfe from running in the contest, after he handed his nomination papers in later.

Ukip deputy chair and South East MEP Diane James remains favourite for the top job, with Cambridgeshire councillor Lisa Duffy having the backing of Patrick O'Flynn and Suzanne Evans. The winner of the contest will be announced on 15 September.