Gerard Batten, who has been acting UKIP leader since February, said he would resign after after spending less than a year restoring the party’s fortunes following a disastrous period riddled by bitter feuds and money issues.
The London MEP, slotted into the post yesterday, warned that the Eurosceptic party needs to get “back into the political fight” as the local elections in England approach.
He added: “As I said at the start of the contest, if the election were to be uncontested, I would hold office for 12 months.
“Therefore, I intend to resign on 13th April 2019 so that a full leadership contest may take place. By then I will have decided if I wish to contest that election or not.
“For the next 12 months, I will concentrate on doing all I can to restore the party’s fortunes. A very good start has been made and the party is now on a sound financial footing.”
Mr Batten was officially elected UKIP’s 12th leader since the party was founded in 1993.
He follows predecessor Henry Bolton who was booted out of the job in February over his relationship with controversial model Jo Marney, who sent offensive messages about Meghan Markle.
After taking the helm, Mr Batten pleaded for more cash from party members when it was slapped with a £175,000 legal bill from a libel case lost by its MEP Jane Collins.
The scandal saw Ms Collins, MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, fork out £54,000 in damages to Sir Kevin Barron, John Healey and Sarah Champion when she shockingly claimed the threesome knew about exploitation of children and had not intervened.
Ms Collins was also ordered to cough up £196,000 in costs.
Mr Batten said: “My role as interim leader was to ensure the immediate survival of the party. That has been done. However, we must move on and progress.
“My aim for the next 12 months as Ukip Leader is to restore the party; financially, organisationally and politically.”
He added: “I will not make any extravagant promises. We are essentially a volunteer organisation and we have a difficult task ahead; one which will require a lot of commitment and work. But Ukip is needed now as much as ever.”
UKIP was founded in 1993 when Alan Sked was leader.
After serving four years, Craig Mackinlay was elected, followed by Michael Holmes who saw the party int the new millennium.
Jeffrey Titford was voted in as the next leader, with Roger Knapman after.
Nigel Farage was then elected leader, with Lord Pearson of Rannoch taking the role after, only for Mr Farage to return for the EU referendum.
Diane James replaced Mr Farage – for a month.
She was then replaced by Paul Nuttall, with Steve Crowther following before Henry Bolton and now, Gerard Batten.
A UKIP spokesman said: “We’re chuffed to bits Gerard got it. He’s a proper Londoner and the right man for the job.”