Eurosceptic MEP Nigel Farage, a major driving force behind Britain's vote to leave the European Union, on Monday stepped down as leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
"I have decided to stand aside as leader of UKIP," he said at a London press conference. "The victory for the Leave side in the referendum means that my political ambition has been achieved."
Nigel Farage has quit as party leader twice before, firstly in 2009 over party infighting and again in 2015 after failing to become an MP, but on both occasions decided to stay.
He insisted Monday that "I won't be changing my mind again, I promise you".
Nigel Farage, widely known as the architect of the Brexit campaign, said on Monday he will retain his seat in the European Parliament to see out the negotiations for Britain's exit from the EU following the country's 23 June vote.
The 52-year-old said that whoever succeeded David Cameron as prime minister should be a long-time Brexit campaigner and vowed to scrutinise negotiations over Britain's departure from the EU.
"I will watch the renegotiation process in Brussels like a hawk and perhaps comment in the European Parliament from time to time," he said. "Whilst we will now leave the European Union the terms of our withdrawal are unclear," Nigel Farage added.
"If there is too much backsliding by the government and with the Labour party detached from many of its voters, then UKIP's best days may be yet to come".
He also offered his services to "other independence movements springing up in other parts of the European Union," adding he was "certain that you haven't seen the last country that wants to leave the EU."
On 28 June, Nigel Farage told a jeering European Parliament that he had had the last laugh after Britain defied their warnings and voted to quit the EU.
He did not just earn the hatred of the EU members but was also rebuked by the chairman.
"What happened last Thursday was a remarkable result, it was indeed a seismic result, not just for British politics, for European politics but perhaps even for global politics too because what the little people did, what the ordinary people did, what the people who have been oppressed over the last few years and see their living standards go down — they rejected the multinationals, they rejected the merchant banks, they rejected big politics and they said, actually, we want our country back, we want our fishing waters back, we want our borders back, we want to be an independent self-governing, normal nation and that is what we have done and that is what must happen. And in doing so we now offer a beacon of hope to democrats across the rest of the European continent. I’ll make one prediction this morning — the UK will not be the last member state to leave the EU," Farage said at European Parliament.
Britain's vote to become the first country to leave the EU is a shattering blow that threatens the survival of the post-war European project, officials and analysts said.
With inputs from agencies
First Published On : Jul 4, 2016 15:15 IST