Nigel Farage has stuck to his pre-election promise and resigned as the leader of UKIP, following defeat in Thanet South to Conservative rival Craig Mackinlay.
But the MEP for South East England did not rule out re-applying for the leadership role in September’s contest and endorsed deputy party chairwoman Suzanne Evans to take over the role in the meantime.
In his speech Mr Farage was highly critical of the British first-past-the-post voting system.
UKIP claimed 13% of the national vote but picked up one seat while north of the border the Scottish National Party won 5% and claimed 56 seats.
The UKIP leader said: “There are four million people out there who have voted for UKIP, and I am struck that a party that gets half of the vote in one part of the UK gets 100% of the seats and another party that gets four million votes is going to have very little representation.
“I think it is going to become a more radical, campaigning party for political reform, social reform, and I think what we will see UKIP become is a very young, very active political force.”
Mr Farage announced that he was relieved and looking forward to having the summer off from politics, highlighting a family holiday was on the horizon.
He said: “On a professional level I express today a degree of disappointment. On a personal level, I feel an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders.”
Nationally the party performed well but translated these votes into just one seat as Conservative defector Douglas Carswell held onto Clacton, while former MP Mark Reckless lost Rochester and Strood to Tory rival Kelly Tolhurst.
Picture courtesy of European Parliament, with thanks