Brexit champion Nigel Farage has resigned as the leader of UKIP

Nigel Farage has announced his resignation as leader of the UK Independence Party. He made the surprise announcement in Westminster on Monday morning.

Farage — who spent his political career campaigning for Britain to leave the EU up until the historic June 23 referendum — made the following statement:

“I have decided to stand aside as Leader of UKIP. The victory for the ‘Leave’ side in the referendum means that my political ambition has been achieved. I came into this struggle from business because I wanted us to be a self-governing nation, not to become a career politician.

“UKIP is in a good position and will continue, with my full support to attract a significant vote. Whilst we will now leave the European Union the terms of our withdrawal are unclear. If there is too much backsliding by the government and with the Labour Party detached from many of its voters then UKIP’s best days may be yet to come.”

Farage told an audience of journalists at a press conference that he is looking forward to having more free personal time:

“Quite frankly, I look forward to having a bit more time for myself. This job is seven days a week, it’s very demanding. I haven’t thought about anything else. I do feel a degree of ‘part-ownership’ for the UKIP brand, and letting go of that is not an easy thing to do, but for now it is the right thing to do.”

“Tough though it has been at times it has definitely all been worth it…I now feel that I have done my bit.”

Farage claimed that the party was in a “good place” and said that he wouldn’t change his mind and return to the role of leader like he did following last year’s general election.

He also confirmed that he will serve out the 2 years he has left as an MEP and promises there will be a “strong UKIP voice” in the European Parliament.

Watch Farage’s surprise resignation in the clip below.

On the prospect of a snap general election, the outgoing leader claimed that it would be a “waste of energy” for UKIP to stand against members of other parties who campaigned for a Brexit.

However, Farage warned that UKIP will only grow as a political force in the future if the government fails to negotiate a satisfactory Brexit deal:

“As long as it’s a Brexiteer, that is what matters to me. To hear people like Hammond wave the white flag of surrender before we have even started is wholly gutless. If the deal we get is a rotten deal, then if they think they have seen the back of UKIP they’re in for a nasty shock.”

He refused to endorse a candidate to replace him, saying “may the best man or woman win.”

Farage rose to prominence in Britain as a charismatic leader who billed himself as a friend of “ordinary” people and separate from what he referred to as “establishment” politics.

His views on issues like immigration, in particular, have made him a divisive figure with critics across the political spectrum. 

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas described Farage’s legacy as “toxic” and accused him of scapegoating migrants. In a statement released shortly after news of the UKIP leader’s resignation, Lucas said:

“Farage’s legacy is toxic and unforgivable. He has used his position to whip up hatred against migrants and divert attention from the real challenges this country is facing. During the referendum campaign, he did the unimaginable by sinking to new lows. He will be remembered for that disgusting poster, and for using the suffering of refugees for his own political gain.”

Despite his party’s staunch opposition to the EU, he has been a member of European Parliament since 1999, where has been a vocal critic of his fellow parliamentarians on multiple occasions. 

For example, in the aftermath of the British public’s vote to leave the 28-nation bloc, Farage delivered a speech which opened with the line: “Funny isn’t it? When I came here 17 years ago, and I said that I wanted to leave a campaign to get Britain to leave the EU, you all laughed at me. Well, you’re not laughing now, are you?”

You can watch this speech in full below.


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