UKIP leadership hopeful Steven Woolfe has his chances of becoming the next leader diminished to zero as he has been ruled "ineligible" to stand in the election to replace Nigel Farage.
The UK Independence Party’s National Executive Committee has voted to exclude Woofle by a “clear majority” from running in the leadership contest.
By submitting his nomination papers just 17 minutes late, the NEC was able to vote him out of the contest.
Woolfe, a member of the European Parliament, expressed his disappointment in the decision and implied it was made because he wanted to abolish the NEC.
Three members cast their resignations from the 19-member NEC in protest. Victoria Ayling, Raymond Finch and Michael McGough said in a joint statement that the party's governing body "is no longer fit for purpose" and called for a vote of no confidence in the executive.
“Unfortunately, the way in which this leadership election has been handled has been completely unacceptable,” wrote Woolfe in an article on Wednesday.
Jonathan Arnott, Bill Etheridge, Diane James, Lisa Duffy, Phillip Broughton and Elizabeth Jones are on the ballot.
Nigel Farage announced his shock resignation as leader of UKIP, days after spearheading a successful campaign to take Britain out of the European Union.
The winner of the leadership contest is scheduled to be announced on September 15.