Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Independence Party chief Farage quits

Published:Tuesday | July 5, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Nigel Farage

Independence Party chief Farage quits


The head of the United Kingdom Independence Party, Nigel Farage, resigned yesterday as party leader, the latest British political chief to tumble amid the political turmoil following the country's vote to leave the European Union.

Farage's departure makes him the third major political figure to announce plans to step aside rather than take ownership of the tumultuous times ahead as Britain navigates its departure following the June 23 referendum. An odd power vacuum has replaced the boisterous predictability of British politics.

"During the referendum campaign, I said I want my country back. What I'm saying today is I want my life back, and it begins right now," Farage told reporters.

Farage joins Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, who said he will step aside to allow a successor to deal with the negotiation process to extricate Britain from the EU's single market of some 500 million. The favourite to replace him, prominent 'leave' campaigner Boris Johnson, declined to stand for the Conservative leadership. The opposition Labour Party is having its own troubles, with leader Jeremy Corbyn clinging to office despite having lost a confidence vote by his party's lawmakers.

Farage was instrumental in the campaign to have Britain leave the EU, championing the issue of immigration. A much-criticised campaign poster featuring thousands of migrants massed at the border alongside the words, 'Breaking Point', typified fears that fuelled some Brits' decision to vote for a British exit, or Brexit.

"The victory for the 'leave' side in the referendum means that my political ambition has been achieved," Farage said.

"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 he would retain his seat in the European Parliament to see out the negotiations for Britain's exit from the EU. He defended his taunting of other lawmakers in the chamber last week, arguing he wanted Britain's voice to be heard.