Nigel Farage announces exit from UK Independence Party

Former U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage announced Tuesday that he is leaving the party after 25 years over its anti-Muslim positions, according to media reports.

“And I — with a very heavy heart, given how much I’ve cared for this party, the people within it — have reached, I think, a very sad decision, certainly very sad for me, that I simply can’t go on with it,” Farage reportedly said on the radio show "Leading Britain's Conversation."

ADVERTISEMENT

“I don’t recognize the party as being the one I helped to found and fought for all of those years,” he added. “I believe the brand has been so damaged, so tarnished, that it’s not able to pick up and won’t be able to pick up the political opportunity that’s there, staring it in the face. So with very great reluctance I have, as of now, resigned my membership with UKIP.”

Farage, a close ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE's has been with the party since 1992 and helped lead the successful "Brexit" push for the U.K. to leave the European Union, but he has become critical of UKIP since he stepped down from leadership.

He criticized the party’s current leader, Gerard Batten, saying that he is “obsessed with the issue of Islam," as well as far-right activist Tommy Robinson, who was recently appointed as an adviser.

“Things couldn’t be better for UKIP, but unfortunately we’ve gone in this direction of street activism and turning a blind eye to extremist politics,” he said, pointing to a march set for next Sunday in London at which Batten and Robinson will speak. 

“The image that will give of what Brexit stands for is something that our enemies will use against us, for perhaps many years to come," he said. "Damaging UKIP is one thing, damaging the Brexit cause is even worse."

Farage has appeared on the U.S. campaign trail in support of Trump, and the two reportedly have discussed the current state of Brexit, criticizing Prime Minister Theresa May's plans.

Last Monday, Farage called it "the worst deal in history."