Nigel Farage today announced he would be touring European capitals to stir up anti-EU movements across the continent in his final speech as Ukip leader.
Speaking at the party’s annual conference in Bournemouth, Farage made no suggestion he was going to seek a lower profile, despite stepping down as Ukip boss.
The outgoing leader told cheering activists that he “literally couldn’t have worked any harder” to secure a Brexit vote, and warned the party it needed to stay strong in order hold the Government to account as it implements the referendum decision.
After a video was broadcast showcasing Farage’s 23-year involvement with Ukip, he took to stage to huge cheers from just under a thousand activists.
Farage, who was ending his third stint as leader, reassured supporters he was “not giving up on politics completely” and “will support the new leader.”
He went on: “I intend this autumn to travel around other European capitals to try and help independence and democracy movements in those countries too. Who knows I may even go back to America at some point. I’m going to be engaged in political life without leading a political party.”
He also quashed suggestions he might quit Ukip to join party donor Arron Banks’ new “right-wing Momentum” project, provisionally titled ‘The People’s Movement.’
“I am still four square behind this party and its aims,” said Farage.
His comments came just an hour after outgoing Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall told the party conference that “standing down must mean standing down.”
“The new leader will not benefit in anyway shape or form if any of us attempt to back seat drive,” he added.
In a speech lasting around 20 minutes and delivered without notes, Farage reminisced over being a founder member of Ukip in 1993 and being the party’s first ever candidate a year later – contesting a by-election in Eastleigh.
After getting elected to the European Parliament in 1999, Farage was made leader in 2006, before standing down three years later to focus on contesting the 2010 General Election.
He was reappointed leader in 2010, and led the party to victory in the European Elections four years later.
After again failing to win a seat in Westminster in the 2015 General Election, he quit as leader for three days before “unresigning” so he could led the party into the 2016 EU Referendum.
Farage today told activists that victory in June’s election mean they “had won the war, but now we have to win the peace.”
He claimed there would be three tests to determine if Theresa May had delivered a hard Brexit: control of the UK’s territorial fishing waters; leaving the Single Market; and control of the UK borders.
After telling activists that “today closes the chapter on what’s been a pretty extraordinary few years,” Farage lowered his voice and said: “I have put absolutely all of me into this. I literally couldn’t have worked any harder.”
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