NIGEL Farage has said he will not be standing as an MP in the forthcoming general election on 12 December.
The Brexit Party leader told the BBC’s Andrew Marr he had thought “very hard” but had decided he could “serve the cause better” by supporting his party’s 600 candidates “across the UK”.
“I don’t want to be in politics for the rest of my life,” he said.
There was a great deal of speculation that Mr Farage would stand in Thurrock.
Mr Farage, who has stood for Parliament seven times previously, also criticised PM Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal.
He told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show the deal agreed earlier this month was “virtually worse that being in the EU”.
“If Boris Johnson was going for a genuine Brexit, we wouldn’t need to fight against him in this election,” he said.
On Friday, the prime minister rejected an alliance with Mr Farage’s Brexit Party, telling BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg doing deals with “any other party… simply risks putting Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10”.
Mr Farage had called on the prime minister to drop his Brexit deal, unite in a “Leave alliance” or face a Brexit Party candidate in every seat in the election.
He told the Marr show: “I always thought that to win an election, get a big majority so we can get a proper Brexit, a coming-together would be the objective.
“I still hope and pray it happens but it doesn’t look like it will.”
Mr Johnson maintains that the only way out of the EU is to “go with the deal we’ve got”.
The prime minister told Sophy Ridge on Sky that he was “deeply, deeply disappointed” to miss his much vaunted 31 October deadline to secure Brexit, calling it “a matter of deep regret”.
“We got Parliament to say it was a good deal, but then they refused to implement it,” he added.
But Mr Farage said Mr Johnson’s deal “kills off any chance of genuine independence”.
“If Boris is determined to stick to this new EU treaty, then that is not Brexit,” he said.
Treasury minister Rishi Sunak hit back at the criticism of the deal, telling the same programme: “I campaigned for Leave, I spent a lot of time talking to my constituents and others across the North East and in Yorkshire – what do they want from Brexit?
“They want to end free movement and replace it with a points system, they want to end the fact that money keeps going to the EU year after year, they want to make sure we’re in control of our laws, and also they want us to have an independent trade policy. These are all things the prime minister’s deal deliver.
“What I would say to Nigel Farage is, sometimes in politics, as in life, you’ve got to take yes for an answer.”