The UK would still be committed to the EU project were it not for Nigel Farage. Ukip has become the third party of British politics and his style of straight-talking has "re-democratised" parts of the country. Millions of voters who had given up on or left the democratic process altogether were able to take a stand. Which other leader could pack large halls like the Sage at Gateshead or the Circus Tavern in my constituency? From founding Ukip, to winning the European elections and now the EU referendum, a political giant leaves the stage – mission accomplished.

For years David Cameron promised time and time again that there would be no In/Out referendum on our membership of the European Union. He didn't want to deliver on it but as Ukip grew and Nigel kept knocking on the door he knew he had no option but to give the British public the referendum they demanded.

When Nigel managed to deliver Brexit 10 days ago it dramatically changed the political landscape. Tony Benn spoke of political shocks that completely change the political landscape. Brexit is one of them.

Labour and the Conservatives are split down the middle, tending battle scars that will take years to heal, if at all. Ukip remains united and has an incredible platform to build on. We now have representation in devolved administrations as well as hundreds of councillors. In my own borough we plan to take control in 2018. We are here to stay in domestic politics as we speak for millions of voters.

The future in a post-Brexit Britain is incredibly bright. Ukip can now tackle head on the other issues that our political class have failed to deliver on.

Under Nigel's tenure, Ukip has moved on from just being about the EU. From migration, to grammar schools and defending the NHS, we are the voice that stands up for the unrepresented.

Ukip had a brilliant 2015 manifesto which I was incredibly proud to be a part of. We were the only party that bothered to create an independently costed manifesto. Why should a political party ever create a manifesto that they don't have the money to implement? Many polls during the general election asked voters which manifesto they liked the most without telling them which party it was, and across the board in issues like health, Ukip polled the highest. The future in a post-Brexit Britain is incredibly bright. We can now tackle head-on the other issues that our political class have failed to deliver on.

Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage speaks during a press conference following the EU referendumGetty Images

As Ukip selects its new leader, we look on with tremendous optimism. As the establishment parties backtrack into the Westminster bubble, Ukip is the lone voice for the working people of Britain. It is up to the new leader to build on Nigel's work and see we get a breakthrough into Westminster and finish the job to see we are fully out of the EU and there to defend the interests of those left behind by a political class only out for itself.

Nigel believes in Britain. We believe in you, Nigel. Thank you for all you have done and enjoy your well-earned rest.


Tim Aker is Member of the European Parliament for the East of England region for the UK Independence Party.