Ukip should not be written off just because Brexit talks have begun as the party has an "incredibly bright" future ahead of it, Peter Whittle told IBTimes UK on Wednesday (29 March).

The Ukip deputy leader spoke as Sir Tim Barrow, the UK's chief representative to the EU, handed Theresa May's Article 50 notification letter to EU Council chief Donald Tusk, triggering the two-year-long negotiations.

"It's not over by a long chalk," Whittle said. "Most political parties are set up for one purpose or another and they go on.

"And so we will be talking about immigration, we will be talking about threat from radical Islam and we will be talking about foreign aid."

He added: "I'm thrilled that Brexit is finally happening. You know it should really have happened the day after the referendum result, we wouldn't have had ten months of this kind of strange war that's been going on and we wouldn't have had billions of taxpayer's money going to the EU still.

"But now that it's here I'm very, very pleased. It's the main reason why our party was set up and so here we are. Now the question is that we have to make sure that what people voted for is what they get in two year's time, nothing less."

Whittle, who also sits on the London Assembly, predicted that there is going to be a "major battle" ongoing as more emerges from the talks. Ukip, for example, do not want the UK to pay any more contributions to the EU.

But Theresa May failed to rule out giving the EU a £50bn exit payment on Wednesday night.

"When people voted last year, I think one of the things they voted for was to ensure that in the future outside the EU we're not paying, you know, significant sums of money on an annual basis into the European Union," the prime minister told the BBC's Andrew Neil.

"Of course we have to look at the rights and obligations we have as a member of the EU. While we continue to be a member until we leave we will carry on paying according to the obligations we have as a member."

Meanwhile, Whittle's comments come after Clacton MP Douglas Carswell quit the party and Ukip leader Paul Nuttall lost the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election in February, while former Ukip migration spokesman Steven Woolfe MEP claimed the party was facing a "death spiral" in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The latest national opinion poll from YouGov, of more than 1,900 people between 26 and 27 March, put Ukip on 10%.