Nigel Farage 'relieved' after loss as Ukip return just one MP

Nigel Farage. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Charismatic leader of Ukip Nigel Farage has stood down after his party returned just one MP to Westminster in the General Election - and it was not him.

Mr Farage insisted he has "never felt happier", with a "weight lifted off his shoulders", after finishing as runner-up in Thanet South.

The Ukip leader, who vowed to resign as Ukip leader if he failed to enter the Commons, polled 16,026 votes.

But Conservative Craig Mackinlay did better, winning the backing of 18,838, with Labour third.

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rohit Kachroo.

He also joked that compared with the last election - when he was in intensive care following an air crash - he felt "pretty good".

Speaking as he resigned as the party leader Mr Farage said that after a summer off he may well consider running for leader again.

Douglas Carswell held on in Clacton but his fellow Tory defector Mark Reckless was ousted in Rochester and Strood.

In Clacton Mr Carswell saw his majority was cut from more than 12,000 at last year's by-election to 3,547.

Ukip's Douglas Carswell held the seat he won in 2010 for the Conservatives. Credit: PA
Nigel Farage. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Ukip MEP Roger Helmer said that while their tally of MPs was a "bit of a disappointment", they were now established as Labour's main challenger in the north of England and the Tories' in the South.

Mr Farage railed against an electoral system which handed the SNP 56 seats and Ukip one on broadly comparable vote tallies.