NIGEL Farage has resigned as leader of Ukip following his defeat at South Thanet.
After losing the seat to Craig Mackinley, the Conservative candidate, Mr Farage announced that he would step down from the party leadership and “take the summer off.”
He did, however, raise the prospect of returning to the post after a leadership election.
Upon his defeat at South Thanet, Mr Farage railed against an electoral system which handed the SNP 56 seats and Ukip one on broadly comparable vote tallies.
He joked that compared with the last election - when he was in intensive care following an air crash - he felt “pretty good”.
Mr Farage added: “There was an earthquake in this election. It happened in Scotland, and I think what you saw were a lot of voters so scared of that Labour-SNP coalition that they shifted towards the Conservatives.
“That included some of the people here who voted Ukip last time round.
“But I saw another shift in this election and I saw Ukip the party, apparently the party for retired old colonels, suddenly the party for people under 30, particularly young working women. There is a big change going on in politics.”
He added: “We have a party in Britain who got 50 per cent of the vote in one of the regions and nearly 100% of the seats.
“We have another party that scored nearly as many votes - four million - as well as the European elections last year that has finished up with one seat in Parliament. I think the time has come for real, genuine, radical political reform.
“It is Ukip that will be the party that leads it.”
Mr Farage earlier said he will resign the party leadership immediately if he fails to take the seat.
At an election night party, Mr Farage said: “We will have to see - the first result we got tonight was from Sunderland. It showed the Ukip vote up by 7,000 and the Tory vote down by 1,000.
“I want to congratulate the editors of The Sun and the Daily Mail - they said the Ukip vote would split the Tory vote. God help us.”