Nigel Farage quits UKIP due to its 'anti-Muslim' fixation
Nigel Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), has quit the party he founded, due to its growing anti-Muslim "fixation" in recent months.
The Member of the European Parliament (MEP) wrote on Tuesday that UKIP's shift to the far-right had isolated a lot of the party's traditional supporters and he could no longer represent them.
"With a heavy heart, I am leaving UKIP. It is not the Brexit party our nation so badly needs," Farage wrote in The Daily Telegraph , ending his links with the party that had contributed to the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.
"The party of elections is quickly becoming a party of street activism, with our members being urged to attend marches rather than taking the fight to the ballot box," he wrote.
The announcement came after UKIP appointed the far-right, convicted criminal Tommy Robinson as an adviser, while the party has pursued policies targeting Britain's Muslim population.
Farage said this goes against what the party he represents and UKIP had become isolated from its traditional supporters.
He wrote that he was confronted by "several angry young men" at a UKIP conference this year, "who all seemed to be obsessed with Islam and Tommy Robinson".
Farage formed UKIP 25-years-ago with the party becoming for some time the third biggest in the UK. He campaigned against the EU, having left the Conservative Party due to its growing closeness to Brussels.
Although he was never elected to parliament he and other members of the party became MEPs and UKIP became a regular feature of British media over the past two decades.
He was voted "Briton of the year" by The Times in 2014, and maintained a high profile before a referendum in 2016 on the UK's membership in the European Union.
Farage was not part of the pro-Brexit Leave campaign, which feared his brand was too divisive.
He resigned as UKIP leader two years ago, but the Leave campaign won the vote, leaving him in the political wilderness but seeing his decades' long wish come true.
"During the referendum I said I wanted my country back ... now I want my life back," Farage said when he resigned as leader two years ago.
He has now campaigned to ensure the Conservative government fulfils its promise to pull the UK out of the EU, and has grown close to right-wing US President Donald Trump, and his former advisor Steve Bannon.
UKIP's new leader Gerard Batten has come under criticism from some senior members of the party for appointing Robinson as an aide and describing Islam as a "death cult".
He won a vote of no confidence on Tuesday, with more figures expected to quit the party in the coming days.
Agencies contributed to this story.