Controversial Yorkshire MEP Godfrey Bloom is quitting UKIP - and will sit in the European Parliament as an independent instead until the end of his term.
Mr Bloom lost the party whip last week after he jokingly called women party activists ‘sluts’ at a fringe meeting at his party’s conference.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage called on him to consider his position and said he had overshadowed the whole event.
Mr Bloom said he had felt for some time that the ‘new UKIP’ was not really right for him anymore – just as New Labour was not right for Denis Skinner.
“However our message is clear - self government. Our wonderful and loyal membership will win through with their dedication and hard work. It has been a pleasure to work with them for 15 years,” he said.
Mr Bloom said he had received thousands of messages of goodwill in recent days, and added that he intended to retain his UKIP party membership but would not be bound to vote with the party.
The MEP was criticised recently when he referred to third world countries as ‘bongo-bongo land’.
Last week he said that a group of female UKIP activists who did not clean behind their fridges were ‘all sluts’.