Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage won't stand in Britain's snap election

Farage (above) will travel around European cities campaigning for Britain to get a good deal in its EU divorce.
Farage (above) will travel around European cities campaigning for Britain to get a good deal in its EU divorce.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who spearheaded Britain's Brexit campaign, on Thursday (April 20) announced he will not stand in the country's upcoming snap election.

He will instead travel around European cities campaigning for Britain to get a good deal in its EU divorce, while exerting "the maximum pressure" on his fellow MEPs.

"I've decided I will not be standing in this general election, Farage said on his LBC radio show, while adding that he would "absolutely" support UKIP leader Paul Nuttall.

The latest to head the party, Nuttall was elected to the post in November after Farage's replacement Diane James stepped down just 18 days after winning the leadership contest.

UKIP won 12.6 per cent in the 2015 general election, which marked the seventh time Farage failed to be elected to parliament. He nonetheless on Thursday said he believed he could win a parliamentary seat in if he had chosen to stand this year.

The overall election result gave UKIP the third biggest share of the national vote, even though it left it with just one seat in the House of Commons, due to Britain's first-past-the-post electoral system.

UKIP's only MP Douglas Carswell, who has clashed with Farage, quit the party last month and on Thursday said he would not stand for re-election and will instead support the Conservative Party candidate.

Farage stepped down from the UKIP leadership following Britain's referendum last year in which 52 per cent voted to leave the European Union, saying he had achieved his ambition.

While the historic Brexit vote was a massive win for UKIP, the party has since suffered from infighting and struggled to define itself in the post-referendum political landscape.

The ruling Conservatives have meanwhile gained support, prompting Prime Minister Theresa May to this week announce a snap election to be held on June 8.

Farage predicted a "huge" lead for the Conservatives, which has 48 per cent support according to a YouGov poll for The Times on Thursday. UKIP stands on 7 per cent behind the main Labour opposition party and the Liberal Democrats.

May has said the upcoming election is necessary to give her a stronger mandate to take the UK into tough Brexit negotiations.