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Ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage quits party over far-right turn

FILE - In this file photo dated Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, former U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. In a written report published Tuesday Dec. 4, 2018, Farage said that he is quitting the UKIP party over its embrace of far-right activists. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias, FILE)

LONDON (AP) — Former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage says he is quitting the party over its embrace of far-right activists.

Under Farage, the Euroskeptic party played a major role in the campaign for Brexit. He stepped down after helping lead the “leave” side to victory in Britain’s 2016 EU membership referendum.

Since then, UKIP has veered further to the right. Farage called last month for current leader Gerard Batten to be ousted after he appointed anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson as an adviser.

Writing Tuesday in the Daily Telegraph, Farage said that when he led UKIP the party excluded “extremists,” but that under Batten’s leadership “the party’s direction has changed fundamentally.”

Farage said “there is a huge space for a Brexit party in British politics, but it won’t be filled by UKIP.”

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