Nigel Farage quits as UKIP leader as he is defeated in South Thanet

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UKIP leader Nigel Farage has failed to be elected as an MP in the constituency of South Thanet.

Speaking at the declaration, Mr Farage said he “feels pretty damned good”, and congratulated David Cameron.

Nothing that he was in hospital after being involved in a plane crash on election day in 2010, he said he felt “disappointment” professionally, but that personally he had “never felt happier”.

In the speech, he didn’t mention his pledge to resign as UKIP leader “in ten minutes” if he was unsuccessful in South Thanet.

The UK Independence Party leader – who had been tipped to pull out a victory over Conservative Craig MacKinlay – had his hopes crushed by a strong vote against him.

Also standing was ‘Pub Landlord’ Al Murray, who arriving at the count, joked that he would also quit, if he failed to be elected. 

Mr Farage – who is also a Member of the European Parliament for the South East – received 16,026 votes, with Mr MacKinlay on 18,838.

On announcing the results, Mr Farage was booed, and one person shouted “Bye Nigel”, as his result was announced.

He previously claimed he would stand down as UKIP leader if he failed to be elected.

Mr Farage has come under intense scrutiny for making claims about HIV during the election campaign – claiming during the BBC leadership debate that the UK is now “incapable” of treating Britons with HIV.

He has also been accused of “ducking” gay rights issues by pulling out of a planned Q&A with PinkNews, making him the only party leader to not take part.

David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Natalie Bennett and Nicola Sturgeon have all answered questions from PinkNews readers – but PinkNews understands that Mr Farage outright refused to do so.

He also pulled out of a BBC Newsbeat discussion last week, after Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband were intensely scrutinised on gay rights.

UKIP is the only one of the main UK-wide parties to have pledged an anti-LGBT policy, with the party’s Christian Manifesto – which was not released to the press – calling for a ‘conscience’ law to weaken equality legislation, and accommodate the beliefs of people who oppose gay rights.

The party leader later defended the manifesto point to the BBC, claiming: “What we’re saying is that all minorities deserve respect, and gay people deserve their rights.

“But also Christians, and Muslims for that matter, should be able to hold the reasonable position that they don’t approve of some lifestyles.

Asked to give an example of what his conscience clause would apply to, Mr Farage said “No, I’m not going to” – and then claimed talking about “one tiddly piece of our manifesto” was distracting from the real issues.