Nigel Farage remains leader of Ukip after his resignation was rejected by the party’s national executive committee, on the basis that Ukip members “did not want Nigel to go”, the party has said in a statement.
Steve Crowther, Chairman of Ukip, said:
As promised Nigel Farage tendered his official resignation as leader of UKIP to the NEC. This offer was unanimously rejected by the NEC members who produced overwhelmingly evidence that the UKIP membership did not want Nigel to go.
The NEC also concluded that UKIP’s general election campaign had been a great success. We have fought a positive campaign with a very good manifesto and despite relentless, negative attacks and an astonishing last minute swing to the Conservatives over fear of the SNP, that in these circumstances, 4 million votes was an extraordinary achievement.
On that basis Mr Farage withdrew his resignation and will remain leader of UKIP. In addition the NEC recognised that the referendum campaign has already begun this week and we need our best team to fight that campaign led by Nigel. He has therefore been persuaded by the NEC to withdraw his resignation and remains leader of UKIP.
The turnabout comes after Farage failed to be elected MP for South Thanet. Before his defeat, Farage said that his party would have no credibility if he remained leader without a seat in the House of Commons. He said in March:
It is frankly just not credible for me to continue to lead the party without a Westminster seat. What credibility would Ukip have in the Commons if others had to enunciate party policy in Parliament and the party leader was only allowed in as a guest? Was I supposed to brief Ukip policy from the Westminster Arms? No – if I fail to win South Thanet, it is curtains for me. I will have to step down.
Few have greeted the “unresignation” with surprise.
Nigel Farage, so different to other politicians, keeps his promises. OH WAIT, NO, HE’S STAYING AS UKIP LEADER. WHAT A TOTAL SHOCK. NOT.
— Jonathan Haynes (@JonathanHaynes) May 11, 2015
how can a party reject a resignation? I reject UKIP’s rejection of Nigel Farage’s resignation
— Kimberly Murrell (@ri0tgrrrl) May 11, 2015
Farage is like one of those characters in a horror film that just keeps getting up and coming at you, whatever you throw at it.
— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) May 11, 2015
I’m campaigning for a three day minibreak to be renamed A Farage. I.E. “I’m off for a Farage in Cornwall.” #FarageUnresigns
— Jamie Ross (@JamieRoss7) May 11, 2015