Nigel Farage has said the “political revolution” that swept Brexit and Donald Trump to victory will reverberate through Europe, as he warned that concerns over immigration are here to stay.
The former Ukip leader said there has been a fundamental “change in public attitudes” towards politicians and the media.
And he predicted that the populist wave of discontent in Britain and the US will usher in change “across the entire Western world”.
Speaking at the party’s spring conference, he said 2016 “is one of those years that children will read about in history books in 100 or 200 years’ time”.
“Political revolution in the United Kingdom, huge – a word he (Mr Trump) uses quite a lot – huge political revolution in America, and of course we saw, in December, the Italians getting rid of their prime minister in a referendum,” Farage said.
“It was a year of political revolution, and the most remarkable thing about it is it was all started by Ukip.”
He dismissed critics who say the discontent “is nothing more than a blip” and that Britain will wake up and “come back from our collective senses across the Western world and return to that comfortable, midway 1990s consensus”.
He added: “I have to tell you, I am now absolutely certain that the political revolution of 2016 was actually just the beginning of something very much bigger that is going to happen across the entire Western world.
“The change in public attitudes towards politics, towards the political class, towards large sections of our establishment liberal media – those changes in attitudes are absolutely fundamental. Far from receding, they are brewing with every month that goes by.”
Mr Farage said immigration is a bigger concern for UK voters today than during the EU referendum campaign.
“People aren’t interested in arguments about the economy, in arguments about growth, in arguments politicians make about jobs, they are not interested. And do you know why? Because they simply don’t believe what they are being told.
“After all, wasn’t our economy going to fall off a cliff if we voted for Brexit?
“What people care about is national identity, what people care about is their community.
“And I’ll argue that people in this country and across the West are now beginning to see immigration as a far bigger issue than they even saw it during the referendum campaign last year.
“None of this is going away.”