More turmoil in politics
Farage quits UKIP role, saying: ‘My job is done’
Mr Farage, who deeply divided opinion because of his direct and sometimes confrontational style, said he never intended to remain in politics, but was driven only to get Britain out of the European Union.
“I have never been, and I have never wanted to be, a career politician. My aim in being in politics was to get Britain out of the European Union,” he said.
“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.”
His departure, however, will create another vacuum in British politics with both main parties involved in internecine battles over leadership.
Mr Farage, a former commodities trader who is also an MEP, resigned after last year’s General Election, only to be persuaded to return to the role as the most recognisable face of his party.
Some, however, may see his departure as an opportunity for UKIP to find a less abrasive leader. The party won a single seat in parliament last year despite receiving four million votes.
Mr Farage, explaining his decision to step down, said that leading UKIP was “tough at times” but “all worth it”. He added that the UK needed a “Brexit prime minister”.
He intends to see out his term in the European Parliament. Last week he accused his fellow parliamentarians of being “in denial” about the “European project”.
He has been leader of UKIP for most of the past eight years, standing down briefly in 2009 and being re-elected the following year.
Mr Farage’s resignation followed former shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle saying that she will make her move for the leadership of the Labour party if Jeremy Corbyn fails to “take action soon”.
“It’s a week since Jeremy lost that vote of no confidence, and there are many other people up and down the country wanting him to consider his position.”
Mr Corbyn urged the party to reunite and restated his determination to carry on as leader.
Mrs Leadsom said the decision to vote to leave the European Union was “perhaps the biggest moment since the Berlin Wall came down.”
She said she would guarantee the rights of EU nationals who were already living in the UK – something that current frontrunner Theresa May has refused to do and which has drawn criticism from the Scottish National Party.
The SNP called on Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson to make her position clear on the issue.
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said: “Refusing to rule out the mass deportation of EU citizens currently living in Britain is chilling, and shows how ‘nasty’ – to use the word once applied to her party by Theresa May herself – those at the top of the Tory party truly are.”
The party also urged the Westminster parties to pull themselves together in the interests of the country following a second week of infighting.
It says Nigel Farage has become the latest politician to ‘abdicate’ responsibility’ in the wake of the EU referendum result.
The SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP said it was ‘beyond belief’ that the Tory government, Labour opposition, and those that led the campaign to leave the EU were shirking their responsibilities and falling apart when the country was in crisis, with the SNP being the only party showing any leadership during such a crucial time.
Mr Roberson said: “At a time when the country is in crisis and desperately needs political leaders to unite and find a way forward, it is beyond belief that the Westminster parties are busy falling apart and indulging in petty infighting and navel-gazing.
“While we certainly won’t miss Nigel Farage and his politics of hate, his resignation does highlight yet again the shameful abdication of responsibility that we are seeing from the Tories, Labour and UKIP following the EU referendum result.
“The Westminster parties had many months to plan for the potential of a Brexit vote but it is clear that the Tory government, the Labour opposition, and those that led the campaign to leave the EU have utterly failed to do so.
“They have taken the country and the economy to the edge of a cliff and then shirked their responsibilities – leaving Nicola Sturgeon as the only party leader showing any leadership, and the SNP as the only strong and united party working to ensure the best for Scotland during this tumultuous time.
“While the other parties flail about without a clue the SNP will continue to do whatever we can to maintain our relationship with Europe and keep Scotland in the EU.”