Brexit campaigner and MEP Nigel Farage has announced he is stepping down as leader of UKIP.
“I have never been and I have never wanted to be a career politician,” he said in a speech on Monday morning.
“I couldn’t possibly achieve more than we managed to achieve in the referendum. So I think it’s right that I should stand aside as leader of UKIP.”
Now that, as he sees it, he has his country back, Farage said he is ready to get “his life back.”
Farage, who returned to the leadership almost immediately after resigning from his post in the wake of a disappointing UKIP result at the 2015 general election, has ruled out the possibility of changing his mind once more.
With questionable sincerity, Farage joked it is a “terribly good idea” for Douglas Carswell, UKIP’s only MP and a fierce critic of the incumbent, to become the next UKIP leader.
Carswell, who during the referendum campaign attacked Farage for the “indefensible” posters depicting a mass of immigrants queuing to get into Britain under the heading “Breaking Point,” reacted to the news by tweeting a smiling emoji wearing sunglasses. Acknowledging that reaction, Farage said, “I’m pleased that he is smiling because that’s not something I have seen very often from him.”
He refrained from backing any particular candidate for the Conservative Party leadership, but said he or she must be a Brexit supporter. Frontrunner Home Secretary Theresa May backed the Remain campaign, while Andrea Leadsom and Michael Gove are pro-Brexit.
Meanwhile, more than 60,000 people have signed a petition for Farage – who will remain an MEP in the European Parliament for the next two years – to be involved in negotiations for Britain to leave the European Union.