Nigel Farage is likely to stand to be an MP for the eighth time in June's general election, the party's leader Paul Nuttall has said, as he forecast the party would win a "handful" of seats.
Mr Nuttall last night told Channel Four News: "I suspect Nigel Farage will stand."
Ukip faces a major test of its viability as a political force in the snap general election called by Theresa May, the Prime Minister and Tory leader.
The party is apparently facing an existential crisis now that Brexit is all but achieved with the Article 50 exit process triggered last month.
It is also reeling from the resignation from the party of its only MP, Douglas Carswell, and the failure of leader Mr Nuttall to beat Labour in the recent by-election in Stoke-on-Trent Central, which he dubbed "the capital of Brexit".
He said: “We are looking to win seats. A handful is achievable.”
A senior Ukip figure tried to play down the party’s chances saying that winning eight per cent of the vote share and two MPs “would be a hell of a good achievement”.
Sources said that it was “unlikely” that party would not stand candidates against pro-Brexit Conservative candidates.
Mr Nuttall, who is expected to stand, is due to hold a major meeting to discuss election strategy later on Wednesday.
He said: “We will be well financed for this election. It is not as though we are not prepared – we began to get ducks in order when we thought it was the first time round.
“I don’t think this is good for the country – it is good for the Conservative party. We always welcome the opportunity to go to the people – it is a challenge we will embrace.”
Mr Nuttall is expected to be make a major speech about social integration on Monday as the party gears up for the election.
Mr Nuttall declined to say whetheres Nigel Farage, his predecsor as Ukip leader, will stand as a general election candidate for the ninth time, saying: “We’ll see.”
An average of current opinion polls puts Ukip in third place on 11 per cent, one point ahead of the Liberal Democrats on 10 per cent.
The news came as the party's biggest financial backer, insurance tycoon Arron Banks, has confirmed he will follow through on his threat to stand in Mr Carswell's Clacton seat.
But it is unclear if he will fight under the Ukip banner as he is no longer a member of the party, and it remains to be seen whether he will be challenged by Mr Carswell.
Asked about the prospects of fighting Mr Banks, Mr Carswell said: "The more the merrier."