Nigel Paul Farage (/ˈfærɑːʒ/; born 3 April 1964) is a British
politician, broadcaster and political analyst who was the leader
UK Independence Party
UK Independence Party (UKIP) from 2006 to 2009 and again from
2010 to 2016. Since 1999 he has been an MEP for South East England.
He co-chairs the
Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy
Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (formerly
"Europe of Freedom and Democracy") group. A prominent Eurosceptic
in the UK, he has been noted for his sometimes controversial speeches
in the European Parliament and has strongly criticised the euro
Farage was a founder member of UKIP, having left the Conservative
Party in 1992 after the signing of the
Maastricht Treaty. After
unsuccessfully campaigning in European and Westminster parliamentary
elections for UKIP since 1994, he was elected MEP for South East
England in the 1999
European Parliament election. He was subsequently
re-elected in 2004, 2009 and, most recently, at the 2014 European
In September 2006, Farage became the UKIP Leader and led the party
through the 2009
European Parliament Election, when it won the second
highest share of the popular vote, defeating Labour and the Liberal
Democrats with over two million votes. He stepped down in November
2009 to concentrate on contesting Buckingham, the constituency of the
Speaker, John Bercow, at the 2010 general election, coming third. In
November 2010, Farage successfully stood in the 2010 UKIP leadership
contest, following the resignation of Lord Pearson of Rannoch.
Farage announced his resignation as leader when he did not win the
South Thanet seat in
Kent at the 2015 general election, but his
resignation was rejected and he remained in his post. In June 2016,
Farage was a prominent supporter of the successful campaign for a vote
in favour of leaving the EU in the UK EU membership referendum. On
4 July 2016, Farage again announced his resignation as leader of UKIP,
triggering a leadership election.
Diane James was elected to
succeed him, but she resigned as leader after just 18 days and Farage
became interim leader on 5 October 2016. A second leadership
election was held in November, which was won by Paul Nuttall, who thus
succeeded Farage. Farage was ranked second in The Daily Telegraph's
Top 100 most influential right-wingers poll in October 2013, behind
Prime Minister David Cameron. He was also named "Briton of the
The Times in 2014. In 2017, Farage began contributing to
the American television network Fox News.
1 Early life, education and early career
2 Political career
2.1 Early years
2.2 European Parliament
2.2.1 Jacques Barrot
2.2.2 José Manuel Barroso
2.3 UKIP leadership and resignations
2.4 Westminster elections
2.5 Prince Charles
2.6 Expenses disclosure
2.7 Herman Van Rompuy
2.8 2010 UK general election
2.8.1 Injury in air crash
2.9 May 2012
London mayoral and local elections
2.10 May 2013 local elections
2.11 Visit to Scotland
2.12 2014 European election
2.13 Undeclared gifts
2.14 2015 UK general election
2.15 2015 resignation announced
2.16 "Car tampering"
2.17 Tax avoidance
2.18 British exit from the EU
2.19 2016 U.S. presidential election
2.19.1 Russian interference
2.20 Knighthood controversy
2.21 2017 UK general election
2.22 2017 French presidential election
2.23 2017 U.S. Senate special election in Alabama
3 Political stances
3.2 Electoral reform
3.3 Energy and the environment
3.5 Independence Day national holiday
3.7 Foreign policy
3.7.1 Campaign against Irish fiscal treaty
3.7.2 "Interference" in Austrian election
3.8 Firearms policy
3.9 "Jewish lobby" comments
4 Electoral performance
5 Personal life
9 External links
Early life, education and early career
Farage was born in
Downe in Kent, England, the son of Barbara (née
Stevens) and Guy Justus Oscar Farage. The Farage name
comes from a distant
Huguenot ancestor. One of his
great-grandfathers was born to German parents who migrated to London
in the 19th century. His grandfather, Private Harry Farage, fought
and was wounded in the First World War. His father was a
stockbroker who worked in the City of London. A 2012
BBC Radio 4
profile described Guy Farage as an alcoholic who left the family
home when Nigel was five years old.
From 1975 to 1982, Farage was educated at Dulwich College, a
fee-paying independent school in south London. In his autobiography he
pays tribute to the careers advice he received there from
cricketer John Dewes, "who must have spotted that I was quite ballsy,
probably good on a platform, unafraid of the limelight, a bit noisy
and good at selling things".
On leaving school in 1982, he decided not to go to university, but to
work in the City, trading commodities at the
Exchange. Initially, he joined the American commodity operation of
brokerage firm Drexel Burnham Lambert, transferring to Crédit
Lyonnais Rouse in 1986. He joined
Refco in 1994, and Natexis
Metals in 2003.
Farage was active in the Conservative Party from his school days,
having seen a visit to his school by
Enoch Powell and Keith
Joseph. In 1981, an English teacher, Chloe Deakin, wrote to the
head teacher of Dulwich College, David Emms, asking him to reconsider
his decision to appoint Farage as a prefect, citing concerns over
Farage's alleged 'fascist' views. Farage later stated that some
teachers were hostile to him because he was an admirer of Enoch
Powell. Farage said: "Any accusation I was ever involved in far right
politics is utterly untrue." He voted for the Green Party in 1989
because of what he saw as their then "sensible" and Eurosceptic
policies. He left the Conservatives in 1992 in protest at Prime
Minister John Major's government's signing of the Treaty on European
Union at Maastricht. He was a founding member of UKIP in 1993.
Farage was elected to the
European Parliament in 1999 and re-elected
in 2004, 2009 and 2014. In 1999 the
BBC spent four months filming a
documentary about his European election campaign but did not air it.
Farage, then head of the UKIP's South East office, asked for a video
and had friends make copies which were sold for £5 through the UKIP's
magazine. Surrey Trading Standards investigated and Farage admitted
the offence. Farage is presently the leader of the 24-member UKIP
contingent in the European Parliament, and co-leader of the
multinational Eurosceptic group, Europe of Freedom and Direct
Democracy. Farage was ranked the fifth-most influential MEP by
Politico in 2016, who described him as "one of the two most effective
speakers in the chamber".
On 18 November 2004, Farage announced in the
European Parliament that
Jacques Barrot, then French Commissioner-designate, had been barred
from elected office in France for two years, after being convicted in
2000 of embezzling £2 million from government funds and diverting it
into the coffers of his party. He said that French President Jacques
Chirac had granted Barrot amnesty; initial
BBC reports said that,
under French law, it was perhaps illegal to mention that
conviction. The prohibition in question applies only to French
officials in the course of their duties. The President of the
Parliament, Josep Borrell, enjoined him to retract his comments under
threat of "legal consequences". The following day, it was
confirmed that Barrot had received an eight-month suspended jail
sentence in the case, and that this had been quickly expunged by the
amnesty decided by Chirac and his parliamentary majority. The
Socialist and Liberal groups in the
European Parliament then joined
forces with UKIP in demanding the resignation of Barrot for failing to
disclose the conviction during his confirmation hearings.
José Manuel Barroso
In early 2005, Farage requested that the
European Commission disclose
where the individual Commissioners had spent their holidays. The
Commission did not provide the information requested, on the basis
that the Commissioners had a right of privacy. The German newspaper
Die Welt reported that the President of the European Commission, José
Manuel Barroso, had spent a week on the yacht of the Greek shipping
billionaire Spiros Latsis. It emerged soon afterwards that this had
occurred a month before the Commission under Barroso's predecessor
Romano Prodi approved 10.3 million euros of Greek state aid for
Latsis's shipping company. It also became known that Peter
Mandelson, then the British EU Commissioner, had accepted a trip to
Jamaica from an unrevealed source.
Farage persuaded around 75 MEPs from across the political divide to
back a motion of no confidence in Barroso, which would be sufficient
to compel Barroso to appear before the
European Parliament to be
questioned on the issue. The motion was successfully tabled on 12
May 2005, and Barroso appeared before Parliament at a debate on 26
May 2005. The motion was heavily defeated. A Conservative MEP, Roger
Helmer, was expelled from his group, the European People's Party –
European Democrats (EPP-ED), in the middle of the debate by that
Hans-Gert Poettering as a result of his support for
UKIP leadership and resignations
Farage at the UKIP Conference in 2009
On 12 September 2006, Farage was elected leader of UKIP with 45 per
cent of the vote, 20 percentage points ahead of his nearest rival.
He pledged to bring discipline to the party and to maximise UKIP's
representation in local, parliamentary and other elections. In a PM
programme interview on
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 that day he pledged to end the
public perception of UKIP as a single-issue party and to work with
allied politicians in the
Better Off Out
Better Off Out campaign, committing himself
not to stand against the MPs who have signed up to that campaign.
In his maiden speech to the UKIP conference, on 8 October 2006, Farage
told delegates that the party was "at the centre-ground of British
public opinion" and the "real voice of opposition". He said: "We've
got three social democratic parties in Britain – Labour, Lib Dem and
Conservative are virtually indistinguishable from each other on nearly
all the main issues" and "you can't put a cigarette paper between them
and that is why there are nine million people who don't vote now in
general elections that did back in 1992."
At 10pm on 19 October 2006, Farage took part in a three-hour live
interview and phone-in with James Whale on the national radio station
talkSPORT. Four days later, Whale announced on his show his intention
to stand as UKIP's candidate in the 2008
London Mayoral Election.
Farage said that Whale "not only has guts, but an understanding of
what real people think". Whale later decided not to stand and UKIP was
represented by Gerard Batten.
Farage stood again for the UKIP leadership in 2010 (having stood down
the year before, to focus on his unsuccessful campaign for the
Buckingham seat) after his successor Lord Pearson had stood down,
and on 5 November 2010 it was announced he had won the leadership
In May 2014, Farage led UKIP to win the
European Parliament election
with 4,376,635 votes, the first time a UK political party other
than Labour or Conservatives had won a national election in over 100
years. Farage was returned as MEP for the South East region, a seat he
has represented since 1999.
As an MEP, Farage leads the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy
grouping in the European Parliament.
On 8 May 2015, Farage resigned as leader of UKIP after he failed to
win the seat of Thanet South in the general election held the previous
day, although he kept open the possibility of re-entering the ensuing
leadership contest. In his autobiography, The Purple Revolution,
he had written:
It is frankly just not credible for me to continue to lead the party
without a Westminster seat. […] Was I supposed to brief Ukip policy
from the Westminster Arms? No – if I fail to win South Thanet, it is
curtains for me. I will have to step down.
On 11 May, it was announced that Farage would continue to serve as the
party’s leader, with the
BBC reporting: "Party chairman Steve
Crowther said the national executive committee believed the election
campaign had been a ‘great success’ and members had
‘unanimously’ rejected Mr Farage's letter of resignation".
Interviewed about his continued leadership by the
BBC the following
day, Farage said: "I resigned. I said I'd resign. I turned up to the
NEC meeting with letter in hand fully intending to carry that through.
They unanimously said they didn't want me to do that, they presented
me with petitions, signatures, statements from candidates saying it
would be a bad thing for UKIP. So I left the meeting, went and sat in
darkened room to think about what to do, and decided for the interest
of the party I would accept their kind offer for me to stay and tear
up the letter." He added that he would consider standing for
parliament again should a by-election be called in a Labour-held
Farage resigned as UKIP leader on 4 July 2016 with the following
comment: "During the [Brexit] referendum I said I wanted my country
back … now I want my life back" and added that this resignation
was final: "I won’t be changing my mind again, I can promise
you", apparently referring to his two previous resignations (in
2009 and 2015).
Farage had unsuccessfully contested British parliamentary elections
for UKIP five times, both before and after his election as an MEP in
1999. Under the 2002
European Union decision to forbid MEPs from
holding a dual mandate, if he were to be elected to the House of
Commons, he would have to resign his seat as MEP.
When he contested the Bromley & Chislehurst constituency in a May
2006 by-election, following the death of Eurosceptic Conservative MP
Eric Forth, Farage came third, winning 8 per cent of the vote, beating
the Labour Party candidate. This was the second-best by-election
result recorded by UKIP out of 25 results, and the first time since
the Liverpool Walton by-election in 1991 that a party in government
had been pushed into fourth place in a parliamentary by-election on
Charles, Prince of Wales
Charles, Prince of Wales was invited to speak to the European
Parliament on 14 February 2008; in his speech he called for EU
leadership in the battle against climate change. During the standing
ovation that followed, Farage was the only MEP to remain seated, and
he went on to describe the Prince's advisers as "naïve and foolish at
best." Farage continued: "How can somebody like Prince Charles be
allowed to come to the
European Parliament at this time to announce he
thinks it should have more powers? It would have been better for the
country he wants to rule one day if he had stayed home and tried to
Gordon Brown to give the people the promised referendum on
the Treaty of Lisbon." The leader of the UK Labour Party's MEPs, Gary
Titley, accused Farage of anti-Royalism. Titley said: "I was
embarrassed and disgusted when the Leader of the UK Independence
Party, Nigel Farage, remained firmly seated during the lengthy
standing ovation Prince Charles received. I had not realised Mr
Farage's blind adherence to right-wing politics involved disloyalty
and discourtesy to the Royal Family. He should be thoroughly ashamed
of himself and should apologise to the British people he
In May 2009,
The Observer reported a Foreign
Press Association speech
given by Farage in which he had said that over his period as a Member
European Parliament he had received a total of £2 million of
taxpayers' money in staff, travel, and other expenses. In
response, Farage said that in future all UKIP MEPs would provide
monthly expense details.
Herman Van Rompuy
After the speech of
Herman Van Rompuy
Herman Van Rompuy on 24 February 2010 to the
European Parliament, Farage – to protests from other
MEPs – addressed the former Belgian Prime Minister and first
President of the European Council
President of the European Council saying that he had the
"charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of low grade bank
clerk". Farage questioned the legitimacy of Van Rompuy's
appointment, asking, "Who are you? I'd never heard of you, nobody in
Europe had ever heard of you." He also asserted that Van Rompuy's
"intention [is] to be the quiet assassin of European democracy and of
the European nation states". Van Rompuy commented afterwards,
"There was one contribution that I can only hold in contempt, but I'm
not going to comment further." After refusing to apologise for
behaviour that was, in the words of the President of the European
Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, "inappropriate, unparliamentary and insulting
to the dignity of the House", Farage was reprimanded and had his right
to ten days' allowance (expenses) "docked".
Buzek said after his meeting with Farage:
I defend absolutely Mr Farage's right to disagree about the policy or
institutions of the Union, but not to personally insult our guests in
European Parliament or the country from which they may come... I
myself fought for free speech as the absolute cornerstone of a
democratic society. But with freedom comes responsibility – in
this case, to respect the dignity of others and of our institutions. I
am disappointed by Mr Farage's behaviour, which sits ill with the
great parliamentary tradition of his own country. I cannot accept this
sort of behaviour in the European Parliament. I invited him to
apologise, but he declined to do so. I have therefore – as an
expression of the seriousness of the matter – rescinded his
right to ten days' daily allowance as a Member.
Camilla Long of The Times, Farage described his speech:
"it wasn't abusive, it was right."
2010 UK general election
On 4 September 2009, Farage resigned as the UKIP's leader to focus on
his campaign to become
Member of Parliament for Buckingham at
Westminster in the 2010 general election. He later told The Times
Camilla Long that UKIP internal fights took up far too much
Farage stood against sitting Buckingham MP, John Bercow, the newly
elected Speaker of the House of Commons, despite the convention that
the Speaker, as a political neutral, is not normally challenged in his
or her bid for re-election by any of the major parties.
Farage came third with 8,401 votes. Bercow was re-elected and in
second place with 10,331 votes was John Stevens, a former Conservative
MEP who campaigned as an independent accompanied by "Flipper the
Dolphin" (a reference to MPs flipping second homes).
Injury in air crash
On 6 May 2010, the morning of the election, Farage was travelling in a
PZL-104 Wilga aircraft with a pro-UKIP banner attached,
when the plane crashed. Farage suffered injuries that were
described as non-life-threatening. Although his injuries were
originally described as minor, his sternum and ribs were broken
and his lung punctured. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch
(AAIB) report said that the aeroplane was towing a banner, which
caught in the tailplane, forcing the nose down.
On 1 December 2010, Justin Adams, the pilot of the aircraft involved
in the accident, was charged with threatening to kill Farage in a
separate incident. He was also charged with threatening to kill an
AAIB official involved in the investigation into the accident. In
April 2011, the pilot was found guilty of making death threats. The
judge said that the defendant was "clearly extremely disturbed" at the
time the offences happened, adding "He is a man who does need help. If
I can find a way of giving him help I will."
London mayoral and local elections
UKIP forgot to put their party name on their candidate's ballot paper
London mayoral election, 2012, Laurence Webb appearing as
"a fresh choice for London". Farage described the mistake as an
internal error. Interviewed the following Sunday by Andrew Neil
and asked about "the game plan", Farage welcomed the "average 13%
vote" across the country, and stated that the party was preparing for
county council elections in 2013, European elections in 2014 and a
general election in 2015.
Farage at the opening of the UKIP office in Basingstoke, in 2012
Asked what would happen to UKIP if the Conservatives made a manifesto
commitment to a referendum on EU membership, Farage said they had
already failed to honour a "cast iron" commitment to a referendum on
the Lisbon Treaty. Challenging Farage's viewpoint, Neil said that
UKIP aspired to come top of the European elections, but while UKIP
wanted to join the big time they were still seen as "unprofessional,
amateur and even unacceptable". In an interview, Farage described
Baroness Warsi as "the lowest grade Chairman the Tory Party has ever
had". He was voted politician of the year by the online service
May 2013 local elections
In May 2013, Farage led UKIP to its best-ever performance in a UK
election. The party received 23 per cent of the vote in the local
elections, winning 147 council seats, and placing it only 2 points
behind the governing Conservative Party and 9 points ahead of the
Liberal Democrats. Farage was mobbed by well-wishers as he made his
way to his favourite pub, the Marquis of Granby, for a celebratory
drink. He called the victory "a real sea change in British
politics". Subsequently, polling agency Survation found that 22
per cent of voters intended to support UKIP in the 2015 General
Visit to Scotland
In May 2013, Farage was interrupted by protesters during a press
conference in the Canon's Gait pub on Edinburgh's Royal Mile. The
demonstration was organised by groups including the Radical
Independence Campaign and saw protesters vocally accuse Farage of
being "racist", "fascist", and a "homophobe", and tell him to "go back
to London". Farage made attempts to leave by taxi but was prevented
from doing so, and was eventually taken away in an armoured police van
while protesters continued to shout. He was trying to
raise the profile of UKIP in Scotland ahead of the Aberdeen Donside
by-election; the party at that point had no representation in the
country, and took 0.91 per cent of the vote in the previous
election though it won its first Scottish MEP the following year.
During an interview with BBC's
Good Morning Scotland
Good Morning Scotland radio show,
Farage labelled the protesters "yobbo fascist scum" before hanging up,
stating that the questions regarding the incident in Edinburgh were
insulting and unpleasant.
2014 European election
In a second visit to Edinburgh in May 2014 Farage correctly predicted
that UKIP would win a Scottish seat in the European Parliament
elections. Two hundred protesters heckled and booed him. Thirty
police in two vans were needed to preserve order.
European Parliament elections in 2014, Farage led UKIP to win
the highest share of the vote. It was the first time a political party
other than the Labour Party and Conservative Party had won the popular
vote in a national election since the 1906 general election.
It was also the first time a party other than the Labour and
Conservatives won the largest number of seats in a national election
since the December 1910 general election.
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (June 2016)
In June 2014, Farage declared £205,603 for gifts over 10 years,
including free use of a barn for his constituency office, which had
been declared in the EU register in
Brussels each year. The Electoral
Commission said that the gifts should have been also declared in the
UK within 30 days of receipt, and then stated they were considering
whether to take action against him after they reviewed all necessary
information supplied to them.
2015 UK general election
In October 2013, Farage announced on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show
that he would stand for election as an MP at the United Kingdom
general election, 2015, most likely contesting either Folkestone and
Hythe or South Thanet; meanwhile he stated that his duty and
preference was to focus on his current role as an MEP.
In August 2014, Farage was selected as the UKIP candidate for South
Thanet following local hustings. On 12 September 2014, he appeared
at a pro-union rally with Scottish UKIP MEP David Coburn ahead of
Scotland's independence referendum.
In October 2014, Farage was invited to take part in prospective
Leaders' debates on BBC, ITV,
Channel 4 and Sky ahead of the 2015
General Election. UKIP indicated that it would consider taking
legal action were the party excluded, in contravention of established
broadcast media rules, from televised Party Leaders' debates in
advance of the 2015 General Election. The 7-way Leaders' TV debate
was broadcast by ITV on 2 April 2015 from MediaCityUK, Salford Quays.
Of three polls taken immediately afterwards, the
ComRes poll had
Farage as joint winner, alongside Labour's
Ed Miliband and
Conservative David Cameron.
In March 2015, Farage declared in his book
The Purple Revolution
The Purple Revolution that
he would step down as UKIP leader should he not be elected as an MP;
he stated his belief that it would not be "credible" for him to lead
UKIP without sitting in parliament at Westminster.
On 22 March 2015, Farage was targeted by anti-UKIP activists who
chased him and his family from a pub lunch in Downe, Kent. His
daughters ran away to hide and were later found to be safe. Farage,
when asked what he thought about the incident, called the protesters
2015 resignation announced
Farage was unsuccessful in his bid to become MP for South Thanet
and announced his resignation as the leader of UKIP, citing that he is
a "man of his word" since he promised to resign if he did not win his
seat. However, on 11 May 2015, the party chairman said they would not
accept Mr Farage's post-election resignation because the party's
"election campaign had been a great success".
A row subsequently developed within the party, in which MEP and
Patrick O'Flynn described Farage's public image as
"snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive" and said he risked turning the
party into a "personality cult". O'Flynn accused Farage of paying too
much attention to advisors that "would like to take UKIP in the
direction of some hard-right, ultra-aggressive American Tea Party-type
movement", singling out the NHS and gun control liberalisation as
particular issues. Raheem Kassam, Farage's chief of staff and editor
London was later sacked as a result, whilst O'Flynn
insisted he continued to support Farage as party leader. Farage
also faced a number of calls from senior figures within the party to
Following the election a UKIP spokesman acknowledged that after a
series of threatening attacks on Farage it had sent an informant into
the Thanet branch of the protest organisation Stand Up to UKIP,
stating "in order to provide reasonable security it was of course
necessary to have information from the inside", an approach he said
was used by "a great many security operations tasked with protecting
the safety and wellbeing of a targeted individual". According to The
Guardian, the informant is alleged to have actively encouraged members
to commit criminal damage. Farage had said he was the victim of "trade
union-funded activists" who were inciting vandalism.
In January 2016 Farage told
The Mail on Sunday
The Mail on Sunday that he believed his
car had been tampered with in October 2015, as he had been forced to
stop when his car's wheel nuts came loose. He reported that he had
spoken with the French police but did not wish to pursue the matter
any further. The Times, however, said Farage's story was untrue,
Dunkirk prosecutors had no reason to suspect foul play or the
police would have started an investigation. The owner of the breakdown
garage concerned had said the problem was probably shoddy repair work,
but he had been unable to communicate directly with Farage.
Farage later said he had made a "terrible, terrible mistake" in
speaking to journalists and that a Sunday newspaper had wrongly turned
his claims of tampering into an assassination attempt.
Although previously denouncing tax avoidance in a speech to the
European Parliament, in which he attacked European bureaucrats who
earned £100,000 a year and paid 12 per cent tax under EU rules,
Farage said in 2013 that he had hired a tax advisor to set up the
Farage Family Educational Trust 1654, a trust that Farage said was
used "for inheritance purposes", on the Isle of Man. Farage later
described this "as standard practice", but insisted he "decided I
didn't want it. I never ever used it. The
Isle of Man
Isle of Man is not a tax
haven." Farage has since said that this was a mistake, in part
because it cost him too much money, but has criticised the
political discourse surrounding tax avoidance as a "race to the
BBC noted that "The
Isle of Man
Isle of Man was one of the UK's
crown dependencies which signed an agreement on corporate disclosure
at a recent meeting with
David Cameron amid claims that individuals
and firms are using offshore locations to reduce their tax
liabilities", adding that the
Isle of Man
Isle of Man rejects any allegations that
they are used for the purpose of tax avoidance.
Farage said in 2014 that most legal tax avoidance was "okay" after he
was questioned on why £45,000 of his income was paid into his private
company rather than a personal bank account, saying that criticism of
his actions was "ridiculous". In the wake of the Panama Papers
leak, Farage also said that the possibility of him releasing his tax
return was a "big no" as "I think in this country what people earn is
regarded as a private matter", and criticised
David Cameron for
being hypocritical, especially with regards to his past comments about
Jimmy Carr's tax avoidance.
British exit from the EU
Although he was a member of the European Parliament, Farage campaigned
to leave the EU as a key figurehead for the British exit from the EU
in 2016. Polls on the day of the vote suggested defeat for the
leave campaign, though they were successful with 52 per cent of the
Jean-Claude Juncker promptly told all UKIP members to leave the
Parliament. Farage also made the suggestion of a future second
referendum in an interview with the
Daily Mirror if
Brexit lost but
the result was closer than 52-48.
On 28 June 2016, Farage made a speech in the
European Parliament in
which he claimed that a hypothetical failure for the EU to forge a
trade deal with an exiting UK would "be far worse for you than it
would be for us", to heckling and laughing by Parliament members. He
insulted his fellow MEPs, claiming that "virtually none" of them had
ever had done "a proper job" in their lives. Media around the
world covered Farage's speech, including his comment: "... when I came
here 17 years ago, and I said that I wanted to lead a campaign to get
Britain to leave the European Union, you all laughed at me. Well I
have to say, you're not laughing now are you?" and his prediction that
Britain will not be the only country to leave the EU. In
Guy Verhofstadt compared Farage's referendum posters with
Nazi propaganda and credited the
Brexit campaign with causing a
multi-billion loss in the stock exchange. Explicitly addressing
Farage, Verhofstadt added, "... Ok. Let's be positive. Finally, we're
going to get rid of the biggest waste in the budget of the (European)
Union, that we have paid for 17 years, your salary."
Farage resigned as leader of the
United Kingdom Independence Party
United Kingdom Independence Party on
4 July 2016, saying that: "It's right that I should now stand
aside as leader. What I said during the referendum campaign is I want
my country back. What I'm saying today is I want my life back. And it
begins right now" and "I have never been, and I have never wanted to
be, a career politician." Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the
European Commission, described Farage as a "retro-nationalist",
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, said that his
legacy is "toxic and unforgivable" and that "He has used his position
to whip up hatred against migrants and divert attention from the real
challenges this country is facing", and former Labour Party leader, Ed
Miliband, said: "It's a legacy of stirring up division. I am not sorry
Nigel Farage leave the political scene". However, Paul
Nuttall, a UKIP MEP, tweeted that Farage's "drive and belief shook
establishment politics to its core and gave us a voice" and
Suzanne Evans, former Deputy Chairman of UKIP, said that Farage's
resignation surprised her, but "there is room still in Britain for
UKIP". Writing in The Spectator, after this resignation when it
was thought he was leaving politics, the journalist Rod Liddle
described Farage as: "The most important British politician of the
last decade and the most successful. His resignation leaves a hole in
our political system. With enormous intelligence and chutzpah and a
refreshingly unorthodox approach, he built UKIP up from nothing to
become established as our third largest party and succeeded in his
overriding ambition – to see the UK vote to leave the European
Following a legal challenge to the use of the Royal Prerogative to
invoke article 50, Farage appeared on television with Gina Miller.
Miller stated that "politicians had lied all the way through" and the
Referendum act clearly said that the result was advisory. Farage also
agreed that it was advisory. Farage was appearing on the Andrew
Marr Show where he was described by the host as a lifelong political
"insurgent." Although he talked of a peaceful protest he warned of
unprecedented political anger if Parliament blocked Brexit. Miller
pointed out that parliamentary democracy required parliament to debate
issues and that Farage had spent the whole
Brexit campaign arguing for
parliamentary sovereignty. Calling his warnings "the politics of the
Tim Farron said the British judges had merely interpreted
British law and that fortunately Farage was the only person talking
about taking to the streets. Miller has previously called Farage
irresponsible and has blamed him and the tabloid media for death
threats against her. She stated in November 2016 that she would not
take legal action against those who had threatened her.
On 7 November 2016, Farage announced he would lead a 100,000 strong
march to the Supreme court timed for when it starts hearing the
Government appeal. On 27 November 2016, it was reported the march
was being cancelled out of concerns it could be hijacked by the
English Defence League
English Defence League and British National
Party. The next day,
Paul Nuttall became the new UKIP party
leader after Farage decided to step aside to strengthen his
relationship with US President-elect Donald Trump.
2016 U.S. presidential election
Farage speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference
(CPAC) in Washington, D.C. about the American elections.
In a May 2016 interview with Robert Peston, Farage said that, whilst
he had reservations on the views and character of 2016 Republican
presidential candidate Donald Trump, if he were an eligible US voter
he would vote for Trump in 2016 presidential election, to prevent
Hillary Clinton becoming president. In July 2016, Farage visited
the Republican convention in Cleveland with his aide and office
manager George Cottrell. Both Farage and Cottrell appeared on
American television and engaged in discussions with Trump's aides
before Cottrell was arrested by the
FBI on 21 federal counts of fraud,
money laundering and extortion. Farage "was unaware of Cottrell's
alleged illegal activities and his arrest by the
FBI came as a
shock." Cottrell's arrest left Farage unable to access his
personal diary. Cottrell ultimately pleaded guilty to one count
of wire fraud as part of a plea agreement with U.S. federal
prosecutors and was sentenced to eight months in U.S. federal prison
and was fined $30,000; the crime had been committed before Cottrell
In October 2016, Farage praised Trump for "dominating" Hillary
Clinton, comparing him to a silverback gorilla. Following
revelations of a 2005 audio recording in which Trump made lewd remarks
about women, Farage said that Trump's comments were "ugly" but
described them as "alpha male boasting" and stated that women also
made remarks they would not want to see reported. Farage's
comments prompted several senior UKIP members to privately express
concern, and prompted public condemnation of Farage from two UKIP
Jane Collins and William Dartmouth. As more publicity
appeared about Trump's alleged groping and as the criticisms
increased, Farage said he disagreed with Trump's comments about
groping women, or his comments on Muslim immigration.
Farage is reported to have had close links with Trump's chief
strategist, Steve Bannon, since at least 2014, when Bannon scheduled
meetings for Farage with right-wing figures in Washington. In his
book, The Purple Revolution: The Year That Changed Everything, Farage
described Bannon as "my sort of chap."
After Trump's victory, Farage said that he "couldn't be happier"
and in the same interview referred to outgoing president Barack Obama
a "loathsome individual" and "that Obama creature", remarks which
prompted criticism. Labour MP John Woodcock criticised
Farage's comments, saying they had "clear racist undertones."
Farage was the first British politician to speak to Trump after his
election, meeting with Trump in his eponymous Manhattan tower.
In November 2016, after becoming president-elect, Trump publicly
Twitter post, that the UK government name Farage as
British ambassador to the United States. Trump's expression of a
preference for a foreign nation's ambassador was "a startling break
with diplomatic protocol" that was unprecedented in recent US
history. The British government rejected the suggestion, with a
Downing Street spokesman and Foreign Secretary
Boris Johnson stressing
that there was no vacancy in the position.
On 20 January 2017, the day of Trump's presidential inauguration, US
Fox News announced it had hired Farage as a commentator.
He has since provided political analysis for both the main Fox News
channel and its sister channel Fox Business Network. Farage also
began hosting a talk show on the British radio station
LBC for four
nights a week.
Farage was listed as a person of interest by the
FBI in their
investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016
Presidential election. He responded, "I consider it extremely
doubtful that I could be a person of interest to the
FBI as I have no
connections to Russia.”
In 2017, Farage called for the departure of UKIP's only MP, Douglas
Carswell. He said in The Daily Telegraph: "I think there is little
future for UKIP with him staying inside this party. The time for him
to go is now." There was reportedly controversy within the party
over whether Carswell had tried to prevent Farage receiving a
knighthood. It was reported the MP had suggested Farage should instead
be given an OBE "for services to headline writers".
2017 UK general election
On 20 April 2017, Farage announced that he would not contest the 2017
general election. He said that he believed he could further advance
his version of
Brexit as a leader of a group in the European
2017 French presidential election
Farage initially endorsed
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan of Debout la France,
another party of the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe, and
Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen of the National Front for the second
round of the French presidential election. Farage said that the basis
for his endorsement of Le Pen was because he believed that she would
be more sympathetic to the UK following Brexit, as opposed to the
pro-European Emmanuel Macron.
2017 U.S. Senate special election in Alabama
Roy Moore in the United States Senate special election
in Alabama. After numerous allegations of sexual misconduct were
made against Moore, Farage publicly expressed his scepticism over
From taking office as a UKIP MEP in 1999, Farage has often voiced
opposition to the "euro project". His argument is that "a
one-size-fits-all interest rate" cannot work for countries with
structurally different economies, often using the example of Greece
and Germany to emphasise contrast.
Farage strongly opposes the use of bailouts and says that "buying your
own debt with taxpayers' money" will not solve the problem and that,
"if we do, the next debt crisis won't be a country ... it will be
European Central Bank
European Central Bank itself".
On the issue of welfare, Farage wants migrants to live in the UK for
five years before being able to claim benefits, and for them to be
ineligible for tax credits. He believes that tax avoidance is
caused by "punitive tax rates", and wants "fairer" taxes as a way to
Farage declared himself in favour of the Alternative Vote system of
May 2011, saying first-past-the-post would be a "nightmare" for UKIP.
The party's stance has to be decided by its central policy-making
committee, although Farage has expressed a preference for the AV+
system as it "would retain the constituency link and then also the
second ballot ensured there were no wasted votes". After the 2015
general election, in which UKIP took a lower proportion of seats than
votes, Farage called the first-past-the-post voting system (FPTP)
"totally bankrupt", although Farage said: "I completely lost
faith in [FPTP] in 2005 when Blair was returned with a 60 seat
majority on 36 per cent of the vote, or 22 per cent if you factor in
Energy and the environment
Farage has criticised the shutting down of coal-fired power stations
and has opposed the policy of creating wind farms as covering "Britain
in ugly disgusting ghastly windmills". In a speech made to the
European parliament on 11 September 2013, Farage cited news, reported
in several Rupert Murdoch-owned papers and the Daily Mail, that the
Arctic Sea ice cap had apparently grown from 2012 to 2013, claiming
that this was evidence of decades "of Euro-federalism combined with an
increasing Green obsession".
Farage takes an anti-prohibitionist position on recreational drugs. In
an April 2014 phone-in interview hosted by
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph he
argued that the
War on Drugs
War on Drugs had been lost "many, many years ago",
stating that "I hate drugs, I've never taken them myself, I hope I
never do, but I just have a feeling that the criminalisation of all
these drugs is actually not really helping British society." He argued
in favour of a
Royal Commission on drugs exploring all avenues as how
to most effectively legislate on drugs and deal with their related
criminal and public health problems, including the possibility of
According to Farage, the smoking ban in enclosed public spaces is
"silly and illiberal"; he recommends separate smoking areas along the
lines of some German states. He believes that banning things makes
them more attractive to children, and said that "Obesity is killing
more people than smoking, you could ban chip shops, you could ban
doughnuts. The point is we are big enough and ugly enough to make our
In his 2015 book, Farage reflected that based on his experiences, "the
NHS is so over-stretched that if you can afford private health care,
you should take it, particularly for diagnostics and preventative
medicine. In the NHS, the system is so battered and poorly run that
unless you are really lucky, you will fall through the cracks. The NHS
is, however, astonishingly good at critical care. But what testicular
cancer taught me is that the NHS will probably let you down if you
need screening, fast diagnosis and an operation at a time that suits
you". He supports reform within the NHS, saying that its resources
have become stretched due to increased immigration, and blaming Labour
for high costs of new hospitals built through private finance
Farage says that money which the NHS could spend on treating taxpayers
with serious conditions is instead spent on recent immigrants with
HIV, an opinion which has been controversial. A
YouGov poll found 50
per cent of those taking part to support Farage, with 37 per cent
saying that he is scaremongering.
Independence Day national holiday
Farage has argued strongly in favour of a British Independence Day
being observed within the United Kingdom, on 23 June each year. On 24
June 2016, in a televised speech on the morning of the
he stated; "let June 23rd go down in our history as our Independence
Day", and later said that it "must now be made a national
Farage has said that he supports Muslim immigrants who integrate to
British society, but is against those who are "coming here to take us
over", citing John Howard's Australia as a government to emulate in
that regard. He told a
Channel 4 documentary in 2015 that there
is a "fifth column" of Islamic extremists in the United Kingdom.
Farage has said that the "basic principle" of Enoch Powell's "Rivers
of Blood speech" was correct.
In a 2014 interview on the
LBC radio station, Farage said that he
would feel "concerned" if a group of Romanian men moved next door to
him. When interviewer James O'Brien inquired what would be the
difference between Romanian men moving next door and a group of German
children, in reference to Farage's German wife and children, Farage
replied: "You know the difference." He later expanded
on this on the UKIP website, explaining that "if we were able to
operate a proper work permit scheme for Romanian nationals, with
suitable checks, as recommended by UKIP, then nobody would need to be
concerned if a group of Romanian nationals moved in next door to
Farage called on the British government in 2013 to accept more
refugees from the Syrian Civil War. He later clarified that those
refugees should be of the country's Christian minority, due to the
existence of nearer Muslim-majority safe countries. During the
ensuing migration crisis, Farage alleged that the majority of people
claiming to be refugees were economic migrants, and that some were
Islamic State militants.
Farage is critical of Britain's involvement in the wars in Iraq,
Afghanistan and Libya, and cited their financial and human expenses
and poor outcomes as reasons for Britain to not become involved
militarily in Syria. He has expressed fears that rebel forces in Syria
may be Islamic extremists. He said about the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan that "Nobody should forget that the most devastating
direct consequences of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been
suffered by the likes of Mr Blair, but by the civilian populations of
these countries and of course by our own brave service
personnel". Farage stated that migrant exodus from
Libya had been
caused by NATO military intervention, approved by
David Cameron and
Nicolas Sarkozy, in the civil war in Libya.
Farage has criticised Britain's close ties with Saudi Arabia. He
said: "I think we need a complete re-appraisal of who Saudi Arabia
are, what our relationship with them is, and stop extremist talk
turning the minds of young, male Muslims in this country."
When asked in 2014 which leaders he admired, Farage said, "As an
operator, but not as a human being, I would say Putin. The way he
played the whole Syria thing. Brilliant. Not that I approve of him
politically. How many journalists in jail now?" Farage has
criticised what he sees as EU militarism agitating western Ukrainians
against Russia. Later, in 2015, he said about Putin that "The
European Union, and the West, view Putin as the devil. They want to
view Putin as the devil. I’m not saying I want take him around for
tea and meet mum on Sunday afternoon … But the point is, on this
bigger overall battle [against
ISIS in Syria] we need to start
recognizing we’re on the same side".
Farage's stance on Iran has shifted over time. In 2013, Farage opposed
sanctions on Iran, and criticised a potential Israeli strike on
Iranian nuclear facilities, stating: "I do not support acts of
aggression, even from countries that feel their existence is
threatened". However, in 2015, he voiced criticism of the Iran
nuclear deal, which relaxed sanctions. In 2018, he condemned
Jeremy Corbyn's "record for standing up and defending this hardline
Islamist regime" and declared that regime change was "absolutely the
right thing" in Iran.
Campaign against Irish fiscal treaty
In May 2012. Farage was interviewed by Karen Coleman of the Irish
Independent about the campaign in Ireland against the Irish fiscal
treaty. Ireland had no anti-EU MEPs and according to Pat the Cope
Gallagher MEP, UKIP's involvement was counterproductive as "Irish
voters strongly dislike foreigners like Mr Farage telling them how to
vote." Coleman who believed the campaign had "little to do with what's
best for Ireland" described the campaign as "particularly egregious"
and said the interview became 'nasty' when she asked Farage about the
"Interference" in Austrian election
During the 2016 Austrian presidential election campaign, Farage said
that Norbert Hofer, the "far-right" Freedom Party candidate, would
call for a "
Brexit style referendum" if he won. Hofer however ruled
out a referendum and asked Farage not to interfere in Austria's
In 2014, Farage said that it is UKIP policy for handguns in the UK to
be legalised and licensed, describing the current legislation, brought
in after the Dunblane school massacre, as "ludicrous". He has
also said that there was no link between responsible handgun ownership
and gun crime.
"Jewish lobby" comments
In October 2017, Farage asserted in an
LBC radio appearance that the
"Jewish lobby" in the United States was more concerning to him than
Russian interference in American politics, saying: "There are other
very powerful lobbies in the United States of America, and the Jewish
lobby, with its links with the Israeli government, is one of those
strong voices...There are about 6 million Jewish people living in
America, so as a percentage it's quite small, but in terms of
influence it's quite big." Farage's remarks were condemned
by the Campaign Against Antisemitism and the Anti-Defamation
League, which said that Farage's comment "plays into deep-seated
anti-Semitic tropes" and was fuel for extremist conspiracy
Further information: Electoral history of Nigel Farage
Farage has contested several elections under the UKIP banner:
UK Parliament elections
Date of election
% of votes
1997 general election
2001 general election
Bexhill and Battle
2005 general election
Bromley and Chislehurst
2010 general election
2015 general election
European Parliament elections
Date of election
Percentage of votes
1994 European election
Itchen, Test and Avon
1999 European election
South East England
2004 European election
South East England
2009 European election
South East England
2014 European election
South East England
Farage attending the
2009 Ashes series
2009 Ashes series at Lord's
Farage lives in Single Street, a hamlet in the
London Borough of
Bromley, "around the corner from his mother". He has been married
twice. In 1988, he married Irish nurse Gráinne Hayes, by whom he has
two children: Samuel (born 1989) and Thomas (born 1991). The couple
divorced in 1997. In 1999, he married Kirsten Mehr, a German
national; the couple have two children. His wife told the Press
Association in February 2017 that the couple are living "separate
lives" and Farage "moved out of the family home a while ago". He
has spoken of how his children have been teased because of their
relation to him. In a
BBC interview with
Rachel Johnson in May
2017 he described himself as "53, separated, skint [broke]", citing 20
years of campaigning as the reason for both.
He has made reference to his German wife in response to criticisms
that he is somehow "anti-Europe", while he himself says he is merely
anti-EU. Farage has employed his wife as his parliamentary
secretary and in April 2014 he explained that "nobody else could
do that job".
On 25 November 1985, Farage was hit by a car after a night out, and
suffered injury to his head and left leg, the latter nearly requiring
amputation. He was in casts for 11 months, but recovered, and the
nurse who treated him became his first wife. On 26 December 1986,
Farage first felt symptoms of what was later discovered to be
testicular cancer. He had the left testicle removed, and the cancer
had not spread to any other organs.
In 2010, Farage published a memoir, entitled Fighting Bull (Flying
Free in paperback), outlining the founding of UKIP and his personal
and political life so far. A second book, The Purple Revolution:
The Year That Changed Everything, was released by Biteback Publishing
Farage is also a keen cricket fan and has appeared on Test Match
Special. He appeared in an advertisement for the bookmaker Paddy
Power ahead of golf's 2014 Ryder Cup. However, due to spinal
injuries since his 2010 plane crash, he cannot play golf. Farage
is also an association football fan, and supports Crystal Palace
FC. He likes to relax by fishing alone at night on the Kent
coast. Farage is a smoker and also fond of beer, this
forming part of his public image. Farage is a member of the East
India, Devonshire, Sports and Public Schools' Club, a gentlemen's club
St. James's Square
St. James's Square in London.
Farage is a Christian. In 2014 he described himself as a "somewhat
lapsed" member of the Church of England.
Since January 2017, Farage has hosted The
Nigel Farage Show on the UK
radio station LBC. The show is broadcast live on Mondays to Thursdays
from 7 pm to 8 pm. Also, since September 2017, Farage
has hosted an additional new show on LBC, The
Nigel Farage Show On
Sunday, which is broadcast live every Sunday from 10 am to
Since March 2018, Farage has hosted a new podcast under the
entitled Farage Against The Machine, a play on words for the term
'rage against the machine', where Farage discusses the latest
political developments and political news with political figures who
he both agrees, and disagrees with. New episodes of the podcast are
released every Friday. The podcast is available from almost any
podcast player via that players search bar.
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2002 Amnesty law
Penal Code, articles L133-9, L133-10, L133-11
Fighting Bull. Biteback (autobiography 2010 hardback first edition)
Flying Free. Biteback (autobiography 2011 paperback second edition)
The Purple Revolution: The Year That Changed Everything. Biteback
(memoir 2015 paperback) ISBN 9781849548632
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Paul Nuttall (Parliament Group Leader)
Peter Whittle (Assembly Group Leader)
National Assembly for Wales
Neil Hamilton (Leader of UKIP Wales & Assembly Group Leader)
Marta Andreasen (defected)
Jonathan Arnott (defected)
Janice Atkinson (expelled)
Amjad Bashir (defected)
Godfrey Bloom (expelled)
David Campbell Bannerman
David Campbell Bannerman (defected)
Diane James (defected)
Robert Kilroy-Silk (defected)
Ashley Mote (expelled)
Mike Nattrass (defected)
Nikki Sinclaire (expelled)
Tom Wise (expelled)
Steven Woolfe (defected)
Fox News anchors and correspondents
Patti Ann Browne
John "Bradshaw" Layfield