Nigel Farage, a prominent campaigner for a UK exit from the European Union, has resigned as leader of the UKIP party.
He said he has done what he set out to do and helped win the referendum on whether or not to leave the EU.
“I have never been, and I have never wanted to be, a career politician. My aim in being in politics was to get Britain out of the European Union,” he said.
“So I feel it’s right that I should now stand aside as leader of UKIP.”
Farage declined to endorse a replacement for the leadership of the right-wing party or for the next UK Prime Minister. But said he will continue to support the party and help independence movements in the rest of the Union. He and other MEPs from the party will remain in the European parliament until the UK leaves and the roles cease to exist.
It’s the second time Farage has stepped down as UKIP leader. In May 2015, he announced he would resign after failing to win a parliamentary seat in the general election, but withdrew his resignation three days later.
Douglas Carswell, UKIP’s only MP in the British parliament, tweeted a smiley face, shortly after the announcement.
😎— Douglas Carswell MP (@DouglasCarswell) July 4, 2016
Brexit: ‘don’t underestimate the strength of the UK’s position’
Leaving the EU will, Farage said, require a team of negotiators from across the political spectrum. The strength of the UK’s negotiating position with the bloc must be acknowledged, he told the press. Weakness and concessions during the Brexit talks will result in Britain getting a “raw deal,” he said.
He also pushed for the next prime minister to be from the pro-Brexit camp. David Cameron’s successor, Farage added, must not give in on free movement. People need “reassurance” about immigration, he said, “and a little bit more calm.”
Farage has been a UKIP member since the party was established in 1993. The 52-year-old was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999.