Nigel Farage has suffered a humiliating defeat in the UK election, with exit polls showing the newly formed Brexit Party winning zero of the 130 seats it was challenging.

The former UKIP leader has clashed with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying he doesn't trust the Tories to deliver a "proper Brexit" — but in early November opted to stand down all 317 Brexit Party candidates in Conservative-held seats for fear of splitting the vote.

Instead, Mr Farage ran candidates in 130 Labour-held seats to challenge Jeremy Corbyn's "Remainer Party", targeting constituencies in South Wales and North England that backed Brexit in 2016.

"We can win those seats if people vote for the candidate most likely to win and to deliver a real Brexit, the one we voted for," Mr Farage said in a video message before polls opened. "Without the Brexit Party's voice in the House of Commons, I don't trust Boris to deliver a proper Brexit."

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Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, takes questions from journalists during an election press conference in London./ Photo / AP
Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, takes questions from journalists during an election press conference in London./ Photo / AP

Exit polls show that ploy has failed miserably, with the Brexit Party coming up empty and Mr Johnson delivering a thumping majority.

Speaking to BBC News on Thursday night, Mr Farage defended the result. "I was determined in this election we would use our influence to stop a second referendum," he said.

"If you'd asked me, 'Would I liked to have won a few seats?' Yes of course. I've spent my political career trying to get Brexit. We're going to get Brexit, are we going to get the right one? Maybe. I'm much happier seeing the exit poll where it is than a hung parliament."

Mr Farage said if the Brexit Party had stood in every seat in the country, "it would have been a hung parliament". "That would have been a disaster," he said.

"I think the Liberal Democrats would have won an awful lot of seats. When you see the scores on the doors coming in, in the Midlands and the North, you will see lots of seats the Conservatives are going to win because we've taken the Labour vote that would never vote Conservative."

He also retweeted a message from Brexit Party chair Richard Tice. "The BXP has clearly played a massive role in reducing Labour votes and seats, thus changing the course of political history," Mr Tice tweeted. "Sky already recognise this."

Nigel Farage poses for a photo on the campaign bus. Photo / News.com.au / Lindsey Parnaby / AFP
Nigel Farage poses for a photo on the campaign bus. Photo / News.com.au / Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

Earlier this week, Mr Farage said he would rather spoil his ballot paper than vote for the Tory candidate standing in his constituency. "I think you should vote, and spoiling your ballot paper is a form of voting. I would never stay at home," he said on BBC's Under 30s Question Time.

Host Emma Barnett asked, "If the leader of the Brexit Party can't support Brexit, what is the point of the leader of the Brexit Party?"

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Mr Farage repeated his argument that "it's not Brexit". "I repeat the point, Boris said he'd pass the oven-ready deal by Christmas," he said.

"If he does that, that is not Brexit. We'll have years more wrangling, a crisis before next summer. This is the Conservatives who, of course, over half the Cabinet voted Remain. They never wanted the Leave result to win, and they're still, three and a half years on, not giving us what we deserve."

Mr Farage has criticised Mr Johnson for backflipping to vote in favour of former PM Theresa May's widely loathed Brexit deal on the third attempt in March this year, having previously described it as a "suicide vest around the British constitution".