German press, politicians rail against Farage for abandoning ship | News | DW | 05.07.2016
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German press, politicians rail against Farage for abandoning ship

The German press and politicians have sharply criticized the leader of the UK Independence Party for resigning amid the country's ongoing political upheaval. The Brexit vote has thrust Europe and the UK into uncertainty.

German media and politicians unleashed a barrage of criticism on Nigel Farage on Monday, after the UKIP leader announced he would resign.

Farage's statement, that he wanted to return to his private life after his "political ambition has been achieved," added greater uncertainty to the UK's trajectory, as leading anti-EU figures run away from guiding the nation through a messy Brexit.

Manfred Weber, the German head of the centre-right European People's Party in the European Parliament, accused Farage of abandoning ship at a time the UK is rudderless.

Farage's departure from UKIP comes less than a week after former London mayor Boris Johnson, a leading anti-EU voice within the Conservative Party, said he would not seek to be prime minister after David Cameron announced he would resign. The post-Brexit chaos has left the Conservatives adrift and the Labour Party in meltdown.

Protests in London against Brexit

A legal challenge to the start of the Brexit process has been launched by a London law firm

Leave campaign without a plan

Christine Lambrecht, the chief whip of the German Social Democrats (SPD), said Farage's announcement showed that the Leave campaign's architects had no post-Brexit plan.

"First Johnson, now Farage: it is disgraceful how the main advocates of Brexit one after the other are escaping from responsibility for the mess they have created," she said. "It also shows that there was risk-taking without any plan in the event of their success."

Axel Schäfer, the SPD's Bundestag Deputy, accused Farage and Johnson of lying and stoking chaos, and then running away from the problems. He accused the Brexit champions of serving their egos rather than voters.

Alexander Radwan, from the sister CSU party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, said on Twitter there is one resignation after another in the UK.

Protests in London against Brexit

Protests in London against Brexit

"It's a late realization they can't lead their country. Hopefully it is not too late," he said.

Despite his exit from the UKIP, Farage said on Monday he would maintain his seat at the European Parliament, where he has served for 17 years and is a deeply unpopular figure.

He said he would maintain a seat the European Parliament in order to ensure there was no backsliding on Brexit. The plush position also comes with a nice salary and hefty stipend courtesy of EU taxpayers.

Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German MEP for the Greens, accused Farage of staying in the European Parliament to maintain his salary.

Cost of Brexit

The Brexit vote has roiled markets and is expected to hit economic growth and jobs, but as the "Berliner Zeitung" newspaper commented on Monday, populists like Farage who spurred voters to leave the EU on false promises and lies now want answers.

"Farage feels that voters will soon ask from him and the other Brexiteers to settle the bill. They want to know if and how they can better their lives. But the populist knows that he cannot deliver on his promises," the German paper said (link in German).

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