Nigel Farage has just delivered his speech at Ukip conference, in which he declared that he had put ‘absolutely all of me’ into Britain leaving the EU. ‘I literally couldn’t have worked any harder, or couldn’t have been more determined – it’s been my life’s work to get to this point. I want my country back, but now folks I want my life back,’ he said.
He went onto claim that Ukip had ‘changed the course of British history’ and suggested that the party had ‘brought down a prime minister’ and had ‘got rid of a chancellor’. On Theresa May’s premiership, he suggested there was a ‘great political battle ahead’, before raising concerns that she might go for a ‘soft Brexit’. Farage then couldn’t resist taking a swipe at Douglas Carswell, his party’s only MP. He suggested that the party was starting to attract people who ‘don’t do it for altruistic aims, but are motivated by their own professional careers in politics’.
With the leadership announcement due at 1.30pm today – and with the likely winner looking to be Diane James – it does feel as if a new era is beginning for Ukip. Farage leaves the party in a state of deep division. Ukip could now make inroads into Labour heartlands, but it remains to be seen whether it can achieve this, especially under James. In his speech, Farage said he ‘won’t meddle or try to influence’. But given his new position on the world stage, and his new alliance with Donald ‘Mr Brexit’ Trump – it seems unlikely that Farage is about to let Mrs Brexit means Brexit forget about him.