Nigel Farage to resign as UKIP leader after ‘Brexit’ vote

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Voters headed to the polls Thursday in a historic referendum on whether the United Kingdom should leave the European Union.

LONDON — Nigel Farage announced Monday that he will step down as the leader of the UK Independence Party, saying, “I’ve done my bit” to get Britain out of the European Union.

He said the party was “in a good position” following the EU referendum and that his political ambition had been achieved.

“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 declined to endorse a successor but said, “May the best man, best woman win.”

It’s not the first time Farage has said he would resign as the UKIP’s leader. In 2015 he offered to step down after the election, but party members urged him to stay on.

Who is Nigel Farage?

For years Farage has operated on the political fringes — ironically as a member of the European Parliament — campaigning against the EU and what he characterized as its looming shadow over British sovereignty.

He was a former Conservative who left the party in 1992 after Britain signed the Maastricht Treaty, which led to the creation of the EU and its shared currency, the euro.

Farage then became the founding member of the UKIP, which opposed Maastricht and had a mandate to move Britain away from Europe.

In an interview with CNN following the June 23 “Brexit” vote, Farage said: “I was written off as being a lunatic, and politically the support for this was absolutely tiny.

“The little idea was considered a little kooky, and 17 million voted for it … and I couldn’t be happier.”

Farage’s comments have been controversial, with critics accusing him of peddling racist and xenophobic views.

He has long campaigned against Britain’s open immigration policy with the EU, saying it has led to an influx of people that have damaged cohesion and created divisions within society.

Farage caused a stir when his party unveiled a poster before the referendum with the words “Breaking Point. The EU has failed us all,” showing an image of migrants entering Europe last year. Opposition politicians dismissed it as “divisive” and “hate-filled.”