Defiant Ukip leader says he aims to lead the party until 2035, but deputy chairman insists he was joking
Nigel Farage has declared he wants to be Ukip leader for the next 20 years.
He said that after a bruising week following the election, with his party erupting in civil war over his decision to withdraw his resignation and continue as leader, he insisted he would "do it my way," refusing to tone down his "aggressive" style.
Ukip's deputy chairwoman, Suzanne Evans, told ‘The Andrew Marr Show’ that Nigel Farage should take a holiday
"Having been through what I've been through in the past week, I've decided I will name the date when I stand down,' he told theSun on Sunday.
"I'm looking at about 2035 at the moment. Would I go before then? Well, somebody could shoot me or I could end up in a plane crash, I suppose."
By 2035 Mr Farage will be 71 and speaking after his interview, Ukip's deputy chairman Suzanne Evans insisted he was joking.
"I think it's a joke, I think it's a joke. He's done this for 23 years,' she told the BBC, telling her leader: "Have a holiday. Have a holiday, Nigel. You know everyone needs a holiday. It's been such a tough time."
Mr Farage insisted he would take "most of August off". "After that I’ll be back and raring to go," he added.
It comes after a difficult week for Ukip, with the party's economics spokesman and former campaign manager Patrick O'Flynn launching a scathing attack on Mr Farage's closest aides, claiming they had turned him into a "snarling, thin-skinned and aggressive" man.
It led to the two advisers - Raheem Kassam and party secretary Matthew Richardson - leaving Ukip.
But a defiant Mr Farage insisted he would not be distracted from his main goal of campaigning for Britain to exit the EU.
“I’ve put 20 years of my life into trying to get a referendum and now is not the time to walk away," he said.
“I’ve never had more support than I have now and I am not going to be driven out by the bad behaviour of a handful of people.”