© Reuters Farage exclusive: Why I'm back as UKIP leader
I’m proud that Ukip fought the most positive election campaign of all the parties up until May 7th. We had a message, “Believe in Britain” that we know resonated with more than four million people across this country.
Contrast that to the other parties, who used scare tactics about our NHS, about the Scottish Nationalists, and about Britain’s membership of the European Union. These are the points I had to consider today, when Ukip’s National Executive Committee met and discussed my resignation.
I had promised in my book, the Purple Revolution, that if I lost in the South Thanet constituency, I would stand down as Ukip leader. This might have accounted for how much negativity the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, and the trade unions threw at me in that seat over the past few months.
And I’m a man of my word. It was only about 20 minutes after the results in South Thanet had come in, that I stood on the cliffs outside the Botany Bay Hotel, surrounded by the nation’s media, and confirmed that I would be handing my resignation to the National Executive Committee today. What followed was something that had crossed my mind, but that I had never truly expected.
UKIP’s NEC overwhelmingly refused my resignation, citing the party membership support as a reason for which I should stay on. I was reluctant. I wanted evidence, I wanted options. And they all came. I was left in a situation that made it clear; there was only one person the NEC wanted for the job, and the party membership was in support.
So, I breathed deep, and thought for as long as I possibly had, given the meeting was ongoing, and still is, at my time of writing this. I decided that as much as I had earned my holidays. As much as I wanted to spend the summer fishing, walking, and of course, in the European Parliament where all hell is currently breaking loose – that I owed it to the party that got me here.
© Associated Press Nigel Farage: Why I decided I had to stay on as Ukip leader
There are some huge battles about to take place, and as much as I had thought that taking at least the summer off was in my best interests, I realise now that the party comes before me, and indeed, that this country comes before both.
That’s why I’ll be as outspoken as I was during the election campaign on the new EU proposals for Mediterranean migrant quotas – which I highlighted during a trip to Strasbourg in the last week of the campaign, only for the issue to be ignored by most in the media.
It’s why Ukip will focus its energies on the ideas of electoral reform – because 4 million people voted UKIP at this election and were rewarded with just one Member of Parliament, when just 1.4 million voted for the SNP, and were rewarded with 56 MPs.
And it’s why, with a European Referendum potentially on the horizon, I feel the need to stay involved for just a little bit longer, to add my voice to those who want Britain to be a country that trades and deals with the world, rather than ties itself to a post-WWII mind set about Europe and the political union.
Again, I’m proud that the statistics prove that UKIP fought a positive campaign at the General Election, and I want to go on providing positive solutions for Britain going forward. Have I done the right thing by my party and my country? I think so. And I’m sure many people will have their opinions on the matter. All I can say is that I’m ready for the challenges ahead. The fight starts here.
Nigel Farage is the leader of the UK Independence Party