The party has garnered only between 1 and 2 per cent of voters' support in recent polling, although the only poll of Euro election voting intentions did put its support at 7 per cent. Its party conference in September was overshadowed by reports of plotting, intrigue and extraordinary internal feuds. In September, The Independent revealed that the party's press officer, Annabelle Fuller, had resigned after receiving phone threats. Senior Tories breathed sighs of relief as they watched the events in Bournemouth unfold.
Yesterday, the former One Man and His Dog presenter Robin Page announced his resignation from the party, claiming his former colleagues were "in the process of imploding". He accused Mr Farage of despotic tendencies and obtaining "almost complete centralised power of Ukip".
Meanwhile, Ukip's membership has fallen from a peak of 26,000 to about 15,000. Donations last year reached £200,000, sharply down on the £377,000 raised in 2007, although the party says it has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds this year in preparation for the June ballots.
Ukip is defending nine of the 12 seats it won in 2004. Mr Kilroy-Silk quit to form his own Veritas party, Ashley Mote was expelled after being arrested for benefit fraud, while Tom Wise was suspended after being investigated by EU anti-fraud watchdogs.