Ukip, which wants Britain to withdraw from the EU, won just one seat in a national election last week, despite talking up its chances of doing much better after winning European elections in Britain last year.
Farage, Ukip’s best-known politician, stood down on Friday after losing to a candidate from David Cameron’s Conservative Party, making good on a promise to resign he made before the election.
But yesterday the party said he’d been persuaded to stay. “This offer was unanimously rejected by the NEC (National Executive Council) members who produced overwhelmingly evidence that the Ukip membership did not want Nigel to go,” Ukip chairman Steve Crowther said.
He cited the need to start campaigning for Britain to leave the EU when Cameron holds a referendum on the issue before the end of 2017, saying Farage had been persuaded by the NEC to withdraw his resignation and remain leader of Ukip.
Ukip won about 13% of the vote nationally, the best result in the party’s history by a large margin. But because of Britain’s winner-takes-all voting system that only translated into a single parliamentary seat.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has been handed a role in David Cameron’s political cabinet but will not have a ministerial job while he remains mayor of London until May 2016. The announcement came as Mr Cameron concluded a “steady-as-she-goes” post-election reshuffle, which saw the most senior jobs remain in the same hands as the prime minister created his first Conservative-only cabinet.
In eye-catching moves, Sajid Javid took the role of Business Secretary previously held by Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, with former Commons Culture Committee chairman and critic of the BBC licence fee John Whittingdale taking his old job as Culture Secretary. Eric Pickles lost his job of Communities and Local Government Secretary to former universities minister Greg Clark, amid unconfirmed reports that the former Tory chairman is to join Mr Cameron’s Holocaust Commission as well as becoming anti-corruption tsar.
Elsewhere Apprentice star and peer Alan Sugar has quit the Labour Party blaming “negative business policies” and an anti-enterprise approach. The entrepreneur delivered a damning assessment of the party’s business credentials under Ed Miliband as he revealed he had lost confidence in Labour during the last 12 months.
Mr Sugar, who will continue to serve as an independent crossbench peer, added he made his decision at the start of the year and would have resigned even if Labour had won the election.