NORTHWEST Euro MP Paul Nuttall is to stand down as chairman of the UK Independence Party.

Mr Nuttall, who won a North West seat at the recent European elections, said he wants to spend more time campaigning to become MP for the Bootle constituency on Merseyside.

The move comes as the party searches for a new leader, following the announcement by current chief Nigel Farage that he will stand down to challenge the speaker of the Commons, John Bercow, for his Buckingham parliamentary seat.

"The most important thing in UKIP is the relationship between the leader and the chairman, and Nigel and I have had the best relationship you can imagine.

"We've been the most successful team the party has had," said Mr Nuttall.

"When a new leader comes in, they have the power to select the new chairman, and so I've decided to stand down to give them that chance.

"It gives me the chance to concentrate on fighting for the Bootle seat."

"Also with more than 100 meetings scheduled over my next eight months as an MEP, I feel that I would struggle to give the party chairman's role the full attention that it deserves or that is expected," said Mr Nuttall.

"The North West is a large area and I want to concentrate on giving my time and effort to all my constituents."

At 32, Mr Nuttall is the youngest-ever UK Independence Party chairman and spearheaded this year's highly successful annual conference in Southport.