LOCAL Ukip councillors have paid tribute to Nigel Farage, who stepped down as the party’s leader today.
The 52-year-old, who has had two tenures as leader of the party since 2006, announced that he was quitting the role that catapulted him into the political mainstream.
Councillor Chris Wood, leader of the Ukip on Fareham Borough Council and Hampshire County Council said: ‘No-one in the last 30 years has shaken up British politics quite like Nigel.
‘What he’s done is really quite outstanding and his achievement in bringing the UK out of the EU will have him go down as a historical political figure.
‘No-one could doubt his energy and passion for the role.’
Councillor Julie Swan, who represents Fratton at Portsmouth City Council added: ‘I would not say it was entirely unexpected.
‘For Nigel, getting the UK out of the EU was his goal and it is now mission accomplished.
‘He will definitely be missed.’
In a speech in London setting out Ukip’s strategy for the post-referendum period Mr Farage said: ‘During the referendum campaign, I said I want my country back. What I’m saying today is I want my life back, and it begins right now.
The charismatic politician was one of the core figures pressing for the UK to leave the European Union ahead of the referendum last month.
In a statement released by Ukip, Mr Farage said: ‘The victory for the Leave side in the referendum means that my political ambition has been achieved.
‘I came into this struggle from business because I wanted us to be a self-governing nation, not to become a career politician.
He added: ‘I feel it’s right that I should now stand aside as leader of Ukip. I will continue to support the party, support the new leader and I will watch the renegotiation process in Brussels like a hawk.
‘I now feel that I’ve done my bit.’