Nigel Farage confirms resignation as UKIP leader
Nigel Farage has officially announced his resignation as UKIP leader.
After failing to become elected in Thanet South, Mr Farage took ten minutes before announcing that he would step down.
Saying he would “take the summer off”, Mr Farage said after that he “would consider whether to put [his] name forward to do that job again.”
He said there would be a leadership election, and also nodded towards a “younger, more vibrant, energetic UKIP.”
Speaking at the declaration in South Thanet, Mr Farage said he “feels pretty damned good”, and congratulated David Cameron.
Nothing that he was in hospital after being involved in a plane crash on election day in 2010, he said he felt “disappointment” professionally, but that personally he had “never felt happier”.
Also standing was ‘Pub Landlord’ Al Murray, who arriving at the count, joked that he would also quit, if he failed to be elected.
Mr Farage – who is also a Member of the European Parliament for the South East – received 16,026 votes, with Mr MacKinlay on 18,838.
He has come under intense scrutiny for making claims about HIV during the election campaign – claiming during the BBC leadership debate that the UK is now “incapable” of treating Britons with HIV.
He has also been accused of “ducking” gay rights issues by pulling out of a planned Q&A with PinkNews, making him the only party leader to not take part.
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David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Natalie Bennett and Nicola Sturgeon have all answered questions from PinkNews readers – but PinkNews understands that Mr Farage outright refused to do so.
UKIP is the only one of the main UK-wide parties to have pledged an anti-LGBT policy, with the party’s Christian Manifesto – which was not released to the press – calling for a ‘conscience’ law to weaken equality legislation, and accommodate the beliefs of people who oppose gay rights.
The party leader later defended the manifesto point to the BBC, claiming: “What we’re saying is that all minorities deserve respect, and gay people deserve their rights.
“But also Christians, and Muslims for that matter, should be able to hold the reasonable position that they don’t approve of some lifestyles.
Asked to give an example of what his conscience clause would apply to, Mr Farage said “No, I’m not going to” – and then claimed talking about “one tiddly piece of our manifesto” was distracting from the real issues.