UKIP leader Paul Nuttall announced his resignation after the far-right and anti-European Union party was washed out in the general election today, failing to win a single seat in the parliament. Nuttall, who had taken over from Nigel Farage in November last year, blamed the UK’s return to a two-party system for the UKIP’s massive failure. “A new era must begin with a new leader,” he said. Nuttall polled just 3,308 votes in Boston and Skegness – more than 10,000 fewer votes than the party’s result in 2015, when UKIP had one MP under the first-past-the-post system. He, however, stressed that the UKIP will remain relevant as the “guard dogs of Brexit”.
“The prime minister, and I suspect it will be a Tory, must know that if they begin to backtrack or barter things away then they must know they will be punished at the ballot box and that will only happen if UKIP is electorally viable and strong,” the 40-year-old said in his resignation speech.”We are in effect the country’s insurance policy on Brexit,” he said. He said it was clear “UKIP requires a new focus and new ideas” but was confident it had a “great future”. The party’s dismal performance had been predicted early on when the exit poll indicated its failure to secure any seats. Pollsters had forecast a swing of the UKIP vote from the 2015 general election to the Conservatives but the final picture reflects that almost all other parties picked up the Eurosceptic UKIP’s vote-share this time.
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The decline in the UKIP vote was seen across the length and breadth of the UK, with the party’s vote share down to around 2 per cent nationally, splitting between Labour and the Conservatives. There have been doubts cast on the party’s very existence since it was formed with the central theme of taking the UK out of the European Union, which it took credit for in the June 2016 referendum in favour of Brexit.