Nigel Farage just gave his final ever speech as leader of the UK Independence Party.
Farage, whose successor will be announced this afternoon, addressed an adoring crowd of party members and activists at a conference in Bournemouth on Friday.
In a speech at the Bournemouth International Centre, he called the EU referendum result a “fairytale” and promised UKIP would continue to have a huge impact on UK politics.
“Twenty-five years ago I joined the anti-federalist league, and not many people can say that, and in 1993 it became UKIP.
“It didn’t matter that all my friends and family and business colleagues thought I had gone mad. It didn’t matter to me that history said it was impossible to get a new party off the ground. It didn’t matter to me — it was a matter of principle.”
“Without us, there could have been no referendum. Without you and the peoples’ army, there would have been no ground campaign. Together we have changed the course of British history. We’ve brought down a prime minister. We’ve got rid of the chancellor. We’ve got rid of a European commissioner. I said four years ago UKIP would cause an earthquake. Well we have.”
“What now? We have a new prime minister who says Brexit means Brexit. I have a feeling that things are beginning to change. She said after the G20 the British people voted for some control. No prime minister, we voted to take back control of our borders — simple as.
“With Labour in trouble, with the Conservatives heading to 2020 in an easy position, the temptation on the prime minister will be to go for a soft Brexit. We can proud of the fact we won the war — but we must now win the peace. We need UKIP to be healthy and UKIP to be strong.
“I know this party is united, and I know it is strong. Since the referendum, UKIP is winning by-elections and millions identify as voters. They believe in us, they think we’re speaking up for them. It is us that needs to keep pushing the agenda.”
“The harvest of votes we could potentially get from the Labour Party hasn’t even started yet. Corbyn is a decent and principled man but he doesn’t believe in Britain. He flumped it. We have potential in Wales and the North and Midlands to pick up votes.”
“If Brexit doesn’t mean Brexit, there will be a large number of Conservatives who will say there’s only one party we can support. I have a feeling they’re not going to deliver all that. They won’t deliver unless UKIP is fighting hard. We won the war, we must now win the peace.”
“I wish the new leader the best of luck. If that leader wants any advice, make no mistake about it, I am still behind this party and its aims.
“Today closes the chapter on what has been an extraordinary few years. I never could have dreamt of achieving what we have. I have put all of me into this… Frankly, folks, I’ve done my bit.”
“I intend this autumn to travel around some other European capitals to help independence and democracy movements in those countries too. I may even go back to the USA at some point.”
“I’m going to be less constrained. From now on, I am really going to speak my mind.”
Farage has spent his political life campaigning for Britain to leave the EU. He first became UKIP leader in 2006 and played a prominent role in persuading Brits to vote for Brexit in the June referendum.
In the opening speech of the day, party chairman Paul Oakden described Farage as a “talisman” and said the outgoing leader “single-handedly” led to Britain voting for a Brexit.
Whoever succeeds Farage will have massive shoes to fill. He remains a hero among UKIP supporters and has been urged by some to continue as leader.
However, he effectively ruled this out at an event attended by Business Insider on Thursday, saying “I won’t miss party politics… I can’t wait to get away from it.”
He recently appeared onstage with Donald Trump at a rally the Republican Presidential Candidate held in Mississippi last month.
A source close to Farage told Business Insider that he has plans to do more work in the US in the future, but didn’t confirm whether it would be related to Trump or his campaign.
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