Nigel Farage has quit UK Independence Party (Ukip) after 25 years, saying he no longer recognizes the party as run by Gerard Batten because of its “fixation” with the anti-Muslim policies.
Farage, who took the party to its third place in votes in the 2015 election and shaped the ground for the Brexit referendum, said he was disappointed by Batten’s policies and his decision to appoint the far-right campaigner Tommy Robinson as an adviser.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Farage condemned Batten’s decision to throw Ukip’s support behind an anti-Brexit demonstration in London organized by Robinson and his associates, saying it was likely to “inspire violence and thuggish behavior”.
“My heart sinks as I reflect on the idea that they may be seen by some as representative of the cause for which I have campaigned for so much of my adult life,” wrote Farage, who regularly contributes a column to the newspaper. “The very idea of Tommy Robinson being at the center of the Brexit debate is too awful to contemplate.
“And so, with a heavy heart, and after all my years of devotion to the party, I am leaving Ukip today. There is a huge space for a Brexit party in British politics, but it won’t be filled by Ukip.”
Batten has repeatedly described Islam as a “death cult” and called for policies including Muslim-only prisons.
This announcement of Farage’s parting from Ukip will likely follow with others leaving as well.
Since stepping down as party head, Farage has forged a career as a political pundit, both in the UK and US.
During an appearance on Infowars earlier this year, Farage told host Alex Jones that leftwingers in Europe were “allied with radical Islam” and “want to abolish the nation-state”.
Batten’s focus on Islam and dismantling it has greatly affected the party’s success alongside his trying to get Robinson allowed into the party, despite much dismay.