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5th Dec 2022

Farage resigns after Ukip result

  • 'You’ll see a younger, more vibrant, energetic Ukip' (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

Nigel Farage resigned as Ukip leader on Friday (8 May) after failing to secure a seat in the UK election.

Farage, who led Ukip to victory in last year’s European elections, was defeated by nearly 3,000 votes by the Conservative candidate in South Thanet. He has been party leader since 2010, having previously been leader between 2006 and 2009.

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Despite gathering more than 3.8 million votes across the UK, equivalent to 13 percent, the eurosceptic party won only one seat in the Westminster parliament.

After claiming two by-election victories last autumn, party officials talked about claiming 20 seats, potentially leaving them as king-makers in the expected coalition negotiations.

However, Douglas Carswell, who won a by-election in Clacton last year after defecting from the Conservative party, will be the only Ukip MP in the 650 member Parliament.

The election still marks a breakthrough for the anti-EU party, which claimed second place finishes in a large number of constituencies, and finished in a clear third place in the popular vote, ahead of the Liberal Democrats.

Criticising the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system, Farage said “the time has come for genuine, radical, political reform.”

Referring to the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) sweeping victory in Scotland, he added that ”we’ve got a party [SNP] that got 50 percent of the vote in one of the regions and got nearly 100 percent of the seats and another party [Ukip] that got more votes and only one seat.“

Deputy chairman Suzanne Evans is likely to serve as Ukip’s interim head until a leadership election is held in September. Deputy leader Paul Nuttall, an MEP since 2009, will start as favourite to succeed Farage.

Speaking after his defeat, Farage noted he had “never felt happier”.

“On a personal level, I feel as though an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders,” he said.

He didn’t rule out the prospect of returning as party leader, commenting that he would “consider whether to put my name forward” following a period of recuperation, but said that “the next chapter of Ukip has begun”.

“You’ll see a younger, more vibrant, energetic Ukip … and one that wants to see a fairer society,” he added.

Farage, who has periodically complained about the detrimental effects on his health and personal finances from being Ukip leader, had vowed, in comments to the BBC, to resign the leadership “within 10 minutes” if he failed to win a seat.

Has the Ukip surge fizzled out?

“All bets are off, the whole thing’s up in the air.” So said Ukip leader Nigel Farage last November after his party won its second by-election in successive months.

Farage resigns: 'I want my life back'

The prominent vote Leave campaigner and anti-EU MEP already resigned Ukip top job three times before. This time it is final, he said.

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