Thomas Burrows, The Sun, December 4, 2018
Ukip’s most famous face has torn up his membership card after 25 years in disgust at the party’s “obsession” with Tommy Robinson.The 54-year-old claimed the party, under anti-Islam leader Gerard Batten, was “turning a blind eye to extremist politics”.
Speaking on his radio show on LBC, the anti-Brussels stalwart said: “I don’t recognise the party as that I helped to found all those years ago.
“I think the brand is tarnished. It cannot capitalise on the opportunities being presented to it.
“So with a very great reluctance, I have as of now, cancelled my membership of UKIP.”
Mr Farage, who tried and failed seven times to become a Ukip MP and is still an MEP for the party, said there was a “huge space” for a Brexit party in British politics but claimed it “won’t be filled by Ukip”.
It comes as Mr Farage warned Ukip would become the new British National Party and destroy Brexit if they march through London with the English Defence League founder and former BNP member next week.
He predicted “absolutely calamitous” scenes of drunken thugs brawling outside Downing Street will be used to discredit leaving the EU “for years to come”.
Ukip’s leader Gerard Batten has already hired Mr Robinson as an adviser on “Muslim rape gangs”.
And he has vowed to march with him in Whitehall just two days before the crucial Commons vote on Brexit on December 11.
On Sunday Ukip’s national executive voted against a motion of no confidence in Mr Batten.
Mr Farage, who played a huge role in the Brexit referendum, added: “Under my leadership of Ukip, the party banned former members of the BNP and EDL from joining.
“Many accusations of racism and extremism were thrown at us, but I strongly maintain they were untrue.
“Under Gerard Batten’s leadership, however, the party’s direction has changed fundamentally.
“He seems to be obsessed with the religion of Islam and not just Islamic extremism and Ukip wasn’t founded to be a party based on fighting a religious crusade.
“He’s also obsessed with this figure Tommy Robinson who is seen by some to be a great hero standing up and fighting for working class people, but who has a pretty suspect record – and who brings with him a group of people amongst which we see scuffles, violence. Many have criminal records, some pretty serious.
“All of it’s been dragging Ukip away from being an electoral party to a party of street activism…and turning a blind eye to extremist politics.
“I have warned this direction was catastrophic, particularly at the time when the great Brexit betrayal is upon us.”
He continued to say that damaging Ukip was on thing but damaging “the Brexit cause is even worse”.
He added: “This Sunday there is going to be a march in London with Gerard Batten and Tommy Robinson as the speakers two days before the most important parliamentary vote of modern times.
“The image that will give of what Brexit stands for is something that our enemies will use against us perhaps for many years to come.”
As well as handing Mr Robinson an advisory role, Mr Batten has referred to Islam as a “death cult” and called for policies including Muslim-only prisons.