Pro-Brexit MEP Nigel Farage resigns as leader of UK Independence Party | News | DW | 04.07.2016
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Pro-Brexit MEP Nigel Farage resigns as leader of UK Independence Party

A founder of the main euroskeptic party in the UK and a major force behind the Brexit referendum has said he's quitting UKIP. Nigel Farage had left UKIP last year but returned to help lead its pro-Brexit campaign.

Farage, the leading anti-EU voice in British politics, said Monday he was quitting as leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), the party he helped found in the early 1990s.

Farage had stepped down last year as UKIP leader after failing to be elected into the British House of Commons. He withdrew his resignation three days later.

Speaking to a scrum of reporters in London, Farage said he'd only returned to UKIP to campaign for Britons to vote to leave the European Union.

"I was persuaded to come back for one reason and that was to fight this referendum," Farage, 52, said. "And I'm very pleased I changed my mind just over a year ago and came back and fought this referendum - I won't be changing my mind again, I can promise you."

The future of the EU was thrown into disarray after 52 percent of the British voted to exit the EU. Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned and some of the principal anti-EU members of his own party have also declined to seek the top post.

Farage says he has no desire to return to the Conservative Party - which he left in 1992. "The victory for the 'Leave' side in the referendum means that my political ambition has been achieved," he said.

He also said he'd retain his MEP seat while Britain negotiates its exit from the EU. But there has been no word on who might succeed him as UKIP leader; theparty list controls 22 seats in the European Parliament.

Tories talk corporate tax cut

Political turmoil has gripped the UK since the Brexit results with the UK's credit rating downgraded amidst economic uncertainty. Earlier, Britain's treasury chief George Osborne announced plans to cut the UK's corporate tax rate to less than 15 percent to encourage companies to invest and ease business concerns about the country's vote to leave the EU.

Osborne says the cut is meant to underscore that Britain is "still open for business," despite its intentions to leave the EU. A cut of about 5 percentage points brings Britain in line with Ireland's 12.5 percent rate.

'A farce'

It did not take long for German politicians and press to express their consternation that Farage would steer a course and then immediately abandon ship.

"Politics like in kindergarten, a farce," wrote the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily of the UKIP leader's exit. His actions are "unbelievably cowardly," the paper writes, to first use fear and lies to convince a nation of his own personal vendetta against the EU and then not even have the courage to see the matter through.

German lawmakers were more muted, but no less clear in their criticism. Katarina Barley, the General Secretary of the Social Democrats (SPD), Germany's main left-leaning party, compared Farage to a child stirring up trouble and then hoping some more responsible party will come fix his mess.

"The Brexit shows what happens when you put Europe's future in the hands of the sorceror's apprentice, to let the irresponsible light a spark," she said on Monday in Berlin.

"And when the house of Europe burns, the populists can build something new from the ashes."

jar,es/tj (AFP, Reuters)

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