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Nigel Farage: One of the most controversial and successful politicians of all time

Nigel Farage sensationally resigned as Ukip leader on Monday. Credit: Reuters

After realising his ambition of seeing Britain vote to leave the EU, Nigel Farage has dramatically quit as Ukip leader - and he insists it's for good this time.

We take a look back at the career of one of the most divisive - and successful - politicians of modern times.

  • Forms Ukip
Nigel Farage pictured in 2004. Credit: PA Wire

Farage, who worked as a city banker, became disillusioned with the Conservative Party under John Major.

Major's decision to sign the Maastricht Treaty was the final straw for Farage who defected from the Tories to form the UK Independence Party in 1993.

Ukip secured its first major breakthrough in 1999 when Farage and two others were voted in to the European Parliament.

Farage became Ukip leader in 2006, replacing Roger Knapman, but stepped down in 2009 to concentrate on improving the party's performances in UK domestic elections.

He decided he wanted to become leader again just a year later and replaced Lord Pearson.

  • Electoral success
Farage reacts after Britain voted to leave the EU. Credit: Reuters

Under his charismatic leadership, Ukip has gone from a mocked fringe party - which David Cameron famously branded “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” - to a serious force on the British political stage.

He used the issue of immigration to appeal, not just to disengaged Tory voters, but also to traditional working-class Labour voters.

His party's growing appeal led to a "political earthquake" in May 2014 when it topped national polls in the European elections.

But his biggest achievement was undoubtedly when he saw his decades-long campaign for Britain to quit the EU triumph in the narrow 52% to 48% victory for the Leave side in the historic referendum.

  • Controversies
Farage underneath the controversial poster. Credit: PA Wire

Farage has never been afraid to speak his mind - meaning he is no stranger to controversy.

He has sparked outrage in the past with his comments on breastfeeding, HIV sufferers and Romanian men.

Farage was also accused of racism during the referendum campaign after using a poster depicting streams of refugees fleeing to the EU under the headline "Breaking Point".

Some observers believe Ukip may be able to mount a stronger challenger for traditional Labour heartlands without such a polarising leader.

  • Failed bids to win seat
The scene of the plane crash in 2010. Credit: PA Wire

Farage's political career is slightly tainted by his failure to win a seat at Westminster - he has lost six times.

He contested speaker John Bercow's Buckingham seat held at the 2010 general election but lost.

On the morning of polling day, the plane carrying Farage crashed after a Ukip banner got caught in the aircraft's tail fin.

Farage survived but suffered serious injuries.

  • Quits as leader - changes mind
Nigel Farage resigns as party leader after losing in South Thanet. Credit: PA Wire

Farage's last attempted to become an MP at the 2015 general election when he contested South Thanet.

It ended in failure and Farage resigned, saying he was a "man of his word".

But just days later, he changed his mind when the party chiefs rejected his resignation.

  • Resigns (again)

Less than a fortnight after his political dream - Britain voting to leave the EU was realised - Farage announced his decision to step down.

“During the referendum I said I wanted my country back … now I want my life back,” he said on Monday.

It is the third time he has stepped down.

But will he change his mind and return as leader again?

"I won't be changing my mind again - I can promise you."

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