Nigel Farage resignation no surprise

Nigel Farage (Reuters)
Nigel Farage (Reuters)

Nigel Farage's resignation as leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is neither out of character nor entirely surprising, according to one of his chroniclers.

Owen Bennett, political journalist and author of Following Farage and The Brexit Club, told Newshub that having played a huge role in taking Britain out of the EU, Farage's main job was done.

"Farage is very well known in this country for being the most prominent anti-EU voice and therefore, having got Britain out of the EU, I think the public feel this is an appropriate time for him to go, and I think most people feel that 'job done'. It's a chance for him to go and have a rest."

This is far from the first time Mr Farage has stood down as leader of UKIP. He initially stood down in 2009 in order to focus on the 2010 election, in which he successfully stood for UKIP leadership.

He stepped down again last year, after failing to get elected. Then he unresigned.

But Bennett says this time Farage's resignation is likely to stick.

"He's had a long think about it. It's not a decision he's made spur-of-the-moment, as he has done in the past. He actually came to this decision last week, had this weekend to think about it, and then has finally announced that he's going to step down."

When asked whether it was the working class vote that saw the Leave camp win, Mr Bennett said that was part of it, but the win came down to the Leave campaign's ability to simultaneously tap into middle-class concepts of control.

"He felt that [the middle-class] wanted Britain to leave the EU because they wanted more control of their parliament, so there was this wonderful pitching of people who didn't like immigration -- which is associated with the working class, who feel like they're pushing their wages down -- and also the middle class idea of sovereignty and control.

"So by bridging those gaps, he managed to get enough of a majority to get Britain out.

"Nigel Farage is a man who prides himself in taking on the establishment as he sees it, saying the unsayable and being in touch with the common man."

Mr Bennett says while many people would say Farage plays with a lot of people's fears and is quite divisive, Farage would say he's just an ordinary bloke in the pub.

"[He] isn't afraid to tell it like it is, and … clearly has struck a chord with millions and millions of people in this country, particularly the working class, who feel like for years and years, the establishment politicians don't listen to them and don't represent them."

The frontrunner for UKIP leadership election is Theresa May, despite having campaigned for the Remain camp.