Nigel Farage: Ukip must be part of a 'new political movement'
Nigel Farage has said Ukip should become part of a “new political movement”, as he compared the leadership candidates to children leaving home.
Mr Farage, who resigned the top post in Ukip after the EU referendum, reiterated that he would not reveal a preference for who replaced him.
But he advised that the new leader should target the “sizeable chunk” of traditional Labour supporters who were disaffected with the state of the party, as well as holding the Government to account for delivering Brexit.
Ukip donor Arron Banks, a close ally of Mr Farage, has spoken in the past about the possibility of creating a new structure in the style of Italy’s Five Star Movement.
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Farage appeared to endorse the idea.
“I think Ukip needs to be strong and to make sure that – to quote the Prime Minister – ‘Brexit means Brexit’,” he said.
“I sense that there’s now quite a sizeable chunk of the Labour party looking at [Jeremy] Corbyn, looking at Owen Smith, just thinking ‘this party no longer represents what we’ve always stood for’.
“And I think that over the next two or three years that Ukip could be the nucleus, if you like, of a new, perhaps bigger political movement.”
Asked whether he could be at the forefront of that new movement, he replied: “I have stepped back from frontline politics. Let’s put it like this: I have no ambitions to lead a political party ever again. It was fun while it lasted.”
Diane James, Lisa Duffy, Bill Etheridge, Philip Broughton and Liz Jones are the five remaining candidates fighting it out to succeed him as leader of Ukip.
Mr Farage refused to endorse any of them as leader so as not to “damn them with my support”, but he did respond to comments from Ms James, considered the frontrunner, about the need for Ukip to move out from the shadow of its former leader.
“It’s like children, they get to a certain age, they leave home and it’s up to them to do it,” he said.
“I’m not going to be insulted by anything any of them say. The good thing is that I was able, through drive, energy and hard work, to take this party from nothing to where it got.
“But the counterargument would be that I was such a dominant figure there wasn’t room for anybody else. Well, now they’ve got their chance.”