Nigel Farage steps down as leader - here he explains why

Nigel Farage has announced he is stepping down as leader of the Reform Party.

Saturday, 6th March 2021, 9:42 pm
Updated Sunday, 7th March 2021, 10:59 pm

In a statement he said: “We have achieved a great deal since the launch of the Brexit Party in April 2019.

"None of this would have been possible without your extraordinary and rapid call to arms. Following our launch in April 2019, I watched the £25 donations coming through online every other second and was humbled by it.

“After a quarter of a century building UKIP up into a national political force, without which a Referendum would never have been granted, I never thought that I would need to start a new party from scratch. But thank goodness I did because we handsomely won the European Elections and got rid of Mrs. May as Prime Minister.

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Nigel Farage bows down

“In the months that followed, the Brexit Party was topping the opinion polls and this guaranteed that the Conservative Party would come to its senses. They selected Boris Johnson as the next Prime Minister with a more positive, pro-Brexit message.

“The final outcome has cut off Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK and treated our fisherman terribly, but we are out and there is no going back. Already, in terms of the vaccine rollout and trade deals around the world, we are seeing the benefits of Brexit and the EU itself turn into a laughing stock.

“The change of name to Reform UK was logical. After all, the Brexit Party had campaigned under the slogan of “Change Politics For Good”. From our electoral system, postal voting, House of Lords and taxation policy there is so much that needs to be brought into the 21st century. Not to mention the civil service, BBC license fee and much more besides.

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“As the elections in May now look likely to be taking place, I’ve been reflecting on my role and my life over the course of the next few years.

“Whilst I was always interested in current affairs, I had never intended to be directly involved in politics. I did so for one overwhelming reason; Britain’s membership of the European Union. I had watched the Tory rebels during the Maastricht Rebellion doing their best but, in the end, submitting to party loyalty. I realised that someone had to take up the fight.

“It has not been an easy journey and has come at a great cost to me, but I have no regrets whatsoever. Whilst I do strongly believe in the Reform agenda, I now feel I can do just as much to shift public opinion through media and social media as I can as a campaigning party leader.

“With the May elections now looming, I intend to stand aside as leader of Reform UK and relinquish any executive power within the party.

“I am delighted to take up a position as Honorary President and will leave Reform UK in the capable hands of Richard Tice, who so ably assisted me in the construction and the running of the Brexit Party. Reform will need to democratise itself and set up a national structure. It is no easy task and I wish Richard well in this huge endeavour.

“My thanks go to the countless thousands who helped me with the Brexit campaign over the decades."

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.