Britain's UKIP says it rejects party leader's resignation

AP News
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Posted: May 11, 2015 11:36 AM
Britain's UKIP says it rejects party leader's resignation

LONDON (AP) — He's back: The UK Independence Party says the resignation of Nigel Farage as party leader has been rejected and he remains in the party's top post.

The party said its national executive committee unanimously refused to accept the resignation. The announcement came Monday, three days after Farage said he was stepping down following his failure to win a seat in Britain's Parliament.

UKIP chairman Steve Crowther said the party's national leadership committee felt the countrywide election campaign had been "a great success." UKIP won only one seat in the British Parliament but got roughly 13 percent of the vote, which was considered by many political observers to be a strong showing. It also scored well in local council elections.

"As promised, Nigel Farage tendered his official resignation as leader of UKIP," Crowther said. "This offer was unanimously rejected by the NEC members, who produced overwhelming evidence that the UKIP membership did not want Nigel to go."

He said Farage would lead the party's campaign to win a referendum that would take Britain out of the European Union. A referendum is expected in 2017, but UKIP wants it sooner.

Farage, 50, had said repeatedly during the campaign that he would resign as party leader if he fell short in his bid for the seat representing the South Thanet constituency, which was won by the Conservative Party candidate despite intense UKIP campaigning. He said in his campaign book that it would not be credible for him to lead the party without holding a seat in Parliament.

Farage had seemed reluctant to leave center stage, saying in his brief resignation speech that he would consider running for party leader again in the future.

The party is known for its outspoken opposition to Britain's membership in the European Union. It also seeks to greatly reduce the number of immigrants arriving in the country.

Farage remains a member of the European Parliament and is by far the best known UKIP member.