User Menu

Nigel Farage resigns as Ukip leader after failing to win seat

Party leader, beaten by Tory candidate, said he would resign if he failed to be elected

United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage stands on stage as the results of the Thanet South vote are read at Winter Gardens in Margate. He failed to be elected. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters.

Ukip’s Nigel Farage has resigned as party leader after failing to win a seat in the Thanet South constituency in the UK general election.

After promising that a defeat would see him stand down, Mr Farage said “I’m a man of my word” .

He said he would consider running again for the leadership in September after taking the summer off.

Mr Farage said he would recommend that Suzanne Evans, the party’s deputy chair, be a stand-in leader until the leadership challenge is complete.

Mr Farage failed to win a seat in the constituency of Thanet South in the UK general election after polling 16,026 votes.

This was some 2,800 fewer than the Conservative candidate Craig Mackinlay who took the seat with 18,838 votes.

In his speech after the result was announced, Mr Farage said he was “professionally disappointed”but also relieved.

“I feel an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders ... and I’ve never felt happier.”

He said he felt much better than on election day in 2010, when he was recovering from a plane crash.

Mr Farage railed against an electoral system which handed the Scottish National Party 56 seats and Ukip one on broadly comparable vote tallies.

“There was an earthquake in this election. It happened in Scotland, and I think what you saw were a lot of voters so scared of that Labour-SNP coalition that they shifted towards the Conservatives,” he said.

“That included some of the people here who voted Ukip last time round.

Mr Farage said Ukip, which was “apparently the party for retired old colonels”, had become “the party for people under 30, particularly young working women”.

He added: “We have a party in Britain who got 50 per cent of the vote in one of the regions and nearly 100 per cent of the seats.

“We have another party that scored nearly as many votes - four million - as well as the European elections last year that has finished up with one seat in Parliament. I think the time has come for real, genuine, radical political reform. “It is Ukip that will be the party that leads it.” ends

Ukip has emerged from the election with its share of the popular vote massively up.

Douglas Carswell held on in Clacton but his fellow Tory defector Mark Reckless has been ousted in Rochester and Strood.

The party had been looking to collect around 12 per cent of the popular vote - an increase of more than 9 per cent on the 2010 total.

-with agencies