Why did Nigel Farage quit Ukip, what is he doing now and who is his wife Kirsten?

But he has sensationally quit the party in protest at the path taken by its current leadership. Here's the story.

Why did Nigel Farage quit Ukip?

Mr Farage stood down as leader for the second time following the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Since then Ukip has been in almost perpetual chaos, with four leaders in two years.

His successor Diane James quit after 18 days, and Mr Farage had to return as acting leader until Paul Nuttall took over.

But he quit after disastrous election results in 2017, and there followed the embarrassing saga of Henry Bolton who was hounded out as leader amid controversy over his model girlfriend.

Current leader Gerard Batten has been accused of lurching to the far right by focusing less on Brexit and more on immigration and anti-Muslim policies.

Mr Farage has previously warned the party risks becoming "the new BNP".

Last month Mr Batten sparked outrage by appointing former EDL leader Tommy Robinson as an adviser of Asian rape gangs.

Former leadership candidate Suzanne Evans was the latest high-profile figure to quit in disgust.

And on December 4, Mr Farage also revealed he was handing in his membership card after 25 years.

He said the party under Mr Batten's leadership was "turning a blind eye to extremist politics".

He announced he was quitting on his LBC radio show, claiming Mr Batten was "obsessed" with Tommy Robinson and the religion of Islam.

Later, writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said the party had squandered a chance to fight Theresa May's Brexit deal and was more interested in "street activism" than fighting election.

He added: "Under my leadership of Ukip, the party banned former members of the BNP and EDL from joining.

"Many accusations of racism and extremism were thrown at us, but I strongly maintain they were untrue.

"Under Gerard Batten's leadership, however, the party's direction has changed fundamentally."

Other Ukip MEPs including Patrick O'Flynn, Bill Etheridge and William Dartmouth have all resigned the party in recent months over the direction it has taken.

How old is Nigel Farage and what's his background?

The MEP and former Ukip leader, 54, was born in Kent and educated at Dulwich College, a public school in South London.

His father Guy. a stockbroker, was reportedly an alcoholic who left the family home when Nigel was five.

Nigel did not go to university, instead going to work in the City trading commodities at the London Metal Exchange.

His City career lasted more tan 20 years, even after he was elected to the European Parliament.

Mr Farage was one of the founder members of Ukip in 1993, and became an MEP for the South East region in 1999.

He was re-elected in 2004, 2009 and 2014.

He is one of the assembly's most outspoken members and has regularly clashed with the EU establishment.

Mr Farage was elected leader of Ukip in 2006, stood down in 2009 but returned the following year until 2016.

He declared "independence day" after the UK voted to leave the EU on June 23 that year, then stood down as party leader.

What is his net worth?

According to an article from March 2017 , Mr Farage is estimated to be worth around £2.5million.

His salary as an MEP is 7,957 euros a month – around £85,000 a year at current exchange rates.

He also gets office allowances of around £46,000 a year.

Mr Farage used to employ his wife Kirsten as a secretary on £27,000 a year until MEPs were banned from paying family members.

She then went to work for another Ukip MEP.

What is Nigel Farage doing now?

He hosts The Nigel Farage Show on LBC Radio five days a week, and has also worked as a pundit on US television.

Mr Farage is also still an active MEP and is back campaigning for Brexit with the Leave Means Leave campaign group.

He has criticised Theresa May's exit agreement and said no deal was "no problem" for Britain.

He told the crowd in Bolton Stadium: "They do not want to give us Brexit.

"They are a bunch of gangsters. We will explain a free trade deal is possible, if that's what the gangsters in Brussels want.

"If they don't, that is fine, if they don't we will leave with no deal. No deal, no problem."

Who is Nigel Farage's wife?

Dad-of-four Mr Farage married German-born Kirsten Mehr in 1999 after his divorce from his first wife Gráinne Hayes.

He apparently splits his time between the Kent family home and his London pad.

But Mr Farage’s wife said in February 2017: “My husband and I have lived separate lives for some years and he moved out of the family home a while ago.

“This is a situation that suits everyone and is not news to any of the people involved.”

When was Nigel Farage in a plane crash?

On the morning of the 2010 General Election, Mr Farage climbed aboard a two-seater aircraft to tow a Ukip banner for a photo stunt.

The plane crashed soon after takeoff at Hinton-in-the-Hedges airfield near Brackley, Northants.

Mr Farage was pictured with blood streaming from his mouth as he staggered from the wreckage, still wearing his purple rosette.

He later recalled of the moment the plane nosedived: “I remember thinking, ‘so this is it, this is how it ends’."

Although his injuries were initially described as minor, it emerged his sternum and ribs were broken and his lung was punctured.

A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the banner became tangled round the tailplane, forcing the nose down.

Pilot Justin Adams – who accused Mr Farage of "ruining his life" and was convicted of threatening to kill him – was found dead in 2013.

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