Nigel Farage has decided to step down as leader of the UK Independence Party, following the UK’s controversial decision to leave the European Union – a move that he actively campaigned for and played a huge role in enacting.
Farage said, “I’ve done my bit” to get the country out of the EU and that his political ambition has now been achieved. His party, he said, is now in a “good position” following the EU referendum, CNN reports.
“I came into this struggle from business because I wanted us to be a self-governing nation, not to become a career politician,” Farage said.
During the referendum campaign I said I want my country back. What I’m saying today is I want my life back.
He thanked his supporters in a tweet and said that he is “delighted” regarding the leave results. Farage also attempted to step down after the 2015 election, but members of the UKIP asked him to stay on.
Farage has been a strong campaigner against the EU for years, operating on the political sidelines, but as a member of the European Parliament, oddly enough. He described the EU as a shadow over British independence, and left the Conservative party in 1992 after the UK signed the Maastricht Treaty that created the EU and the euro.
After leaving, he founded the UKIP, whose agenda was to oppose the treaty and move Britain away from the rest of Europe. Following the historic June 23 Brexit vote, Farage told CNN that his views were considered crazy by many and he was called a “lunatic.” But now, he couldn’t be happier that his dream has come true.
Farage has been criticized for being racist and xenophobic, as his views include anti-open immigration, which he says has led to a massive influx of people who have turned the country into a divisive one. His party caused controversy when it unveiled a poster before the EU referendum that showed migrants entering Europe with the caption ‘Breaking Point. The EU has failed us all.’
With Farage out, the UKIP will now join the Conservatives, who are now on the search for a new leader after Boris Johnson, the favored replacement for outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron, dropped the bombshell that he had no intention of running for the position. Cameron has announced his resignation after losing the campaign to stay in the EU.
Douglas Carswell became the first elected member of Parliament for Farage’s party. Aside from Carswell, other successors to Farage’s position are the party’s deputy leader Paul Nuttall, deputy chairman Diane James, immigration spokesman Steven Woolfe, culture spokesman Peter Whittle, and suspended former deputy chairman Suzanne Evans.
Nuttall, Woolfe and James have posted tweets thanking Farage for his work and vision, and acknowledging his efforts to get the party and the country where it is now.
Farage has not endorsed a candidate, and simply stated, “May the best man or woman win.”