Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader who James replaced, has refused to take up the position again. 'Not for ten million dollars,' he told the Press Association. Photograph: (AFP)
One report said Diane James was shaken after she was spat at on a train last week
UKIP party chief Diane James resigned on Tuesday, only 18 days after ousting former leader Nigel Farage.
James announced her resignation on Twitter, saying, "It has become clear that I do not have sufficient authority, nor the full support of all my MEP (member of european parliament) colleagues and party officers to implement changes I believe necessary and upon which I based my campaign."
Citing "personal and professional reasons", she added she would not be taking the election process further. She will however stay on as UKIP member to the European Parliament.
UKIP chairman Paul Oakden said, "Whilst the decision is unfortunate, it is one that Diane is entitled to make. We thank her for all her work as leader, and as a hard working MEP, a role she will continue with her customary vigour."
AFP quoted Oakden as saying a meeting with the National Executive Committee will be called to discuss the process of selecting a new leader, .
Media reports suggested James is stepping down due to concerns over her husband's ill health. The Times newspaper, however, reported that James was hesitant to head the party without assurances about its funding and was shaken after she was spat at on a train last week.
James succeeded Nigel Farage as UKIP's leader in September, promising that the Conservative government would not be allowed to negotiate a "soft Brexit".
Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader who James replaced, has refused to take up the position again. "Not for ten million dollars," he told the Press Association.
Steven Woolfe, UKIP's migration and financial affairs spokesman and MEP, is considered a favourite for the position.
(WION with inputs from agencies)