Nigel Farage Steps Down As Leader Of UKIP
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced he will step down as leader of the party in the wake of the referendum to leave the EU.
"My aim in politics was to get Britain out of the European Union," he said in a speech outlining the party's post-referendum strategy.
"That is what we voted for in that referendum two weeks ago, and that is why I now feel that I've done my bit, that I couldn't possibly achieve more.
"And so I feel it's right that I should now stand aside as leader of UKIP."
This is not the first time the 52-year-old has resigned as leader. In 2015, he quit the leadership after the general election, but reversed that decision just days later.
"I won't be changing my mind again - I can promise you," he said.
"During the referendum campaign I said I want my country back. What I'm saying today is: I want my life back."
Mr Farage has declined to endorse a successor but says he expects his replacement will be in place for the party's autumn conference.
UKIP's only MP, Douglas Carswell, who has had a rocky relationship with Mr Farage, has tweeted a smiley face in response to the news.
When asked about the tweet, Mr Farage said: "I'm pleased that he's smiling because that's not something I've seen very often from him. So it's obviously very good news."
Mr Farage's decision to step down means UKIP now joins the Conservatives in searching for a new leader.
Mr Carswell has told the BBC he will not be a candidate: "The chances of me standing to be UKIP leader are somewhere between nil and zero."
However UKIP's parliamentary spokeswoman Suzanne Evans, who's currently suspended from the party for public criticisms she made of it, says she would like to stand.
"I've never made any secret of the fact that if Nigel Farage did step aside for any reason, I would like to put myself forward," she told Sky News.
"And yes, I'd like to have that opportunity to do so."
Ms Evans said Mr Farage's resignation is an opportunity to renew UKIP and allow it to "grow up".
"UKIP has an image problem," she acknowledged.
"I know that there are so many very good people in UKIP who are not racist, who are not homophobic, who simply have the country's best interests at heart. We have to clean up our act."
Mr Farage says he intends to stay on as a member of the European Parliament as Britain triggers the process to exit the EU.
"I will watch the renegotiation process in Brussels like a hawk," Mr Farage promised.
"I'm also very keen to help the independence movements that are springing up in other parts of the European Union, because I'm certain of one thing - you haven't seen the last country that wants to leave the EU."
Fellow UKIP MEP, Nathan Gill, has paid tribute to Mr Farage, saying that very few politicians can say they achieved what they set out to do.
"For years politics was boring and unattractive to millions of people around the country and Nigel changed that: he made politics relevant and provided a voice for the people," Mr Gill said.
UKIP London Assembly Member David Kurten described Mr Farage as "an inspiration and a giant in British politics".
But the former Labour leader Ed Miliband says Mr Farage has a history of "stirring up division", telling the BBC: "I'm not sorry to see Nigel Farage leaving the political scene."