Six hours in the pub says Farage
Nigel Farage has said his political career does not give him time for a normal family life but joked that he spends "five or six hours a day in the pub".
The Ukip leader also said it was a "fact of life" that some women's careers suffered as a result of having children and it would be "difficult to change that".
Mr Farage, who predicted that the number of seats Ukip wins in May's general election would be in double figures, said the campaign so far had been "incredibly negative" and said attacks on Labour leader Ed Miliband in the press had been "vile".
Mr Miliband, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Prime Minister David Cameron have all spoken about the part they play in raising their children despite the pressures of political life.
Appearing on ITV's Loose Women, Mr Farage was asked if he had "any guilt" about his beer-drinking, cigarette-smoking image.
He said: "I only spend five or six hours a day in the pub, that's all I do. I can't see what all the fuss is about."
Mr Farage said he got up at 5am and was rarely home before midnight because he worked "very, very hard".
He added: "Well I think at lunchtime, I deserve a sherbet ."
Panellist Nadia Sawalha told him: "If I was your wife I would be giving you a bad telling off for that, what does your wife think?"
Mr Farage had two sons with his first wife Grainne Hayes but the marriage broke down. He went on to marry German Kirsten Mehr and the couple had two daughters.
Asked when he spent time with his wife and children he said: " At the moment I don't. You cannot conduct any sense of family life and do politics.
"I notice that the other three big leaders are very good at coming on to programmes like this and saying what wonderful family men they are and how they do the school run and when the babies were little they changed all the nappies and did the night feeds.
"Well, maybe that's true, but all I can say is, my life in politics, it's pretty much impossible to do that."
He added that "by nature you've got to be a fairly selfish person" if you want to pursue political ambitions.
Asked about women coming back in to the workplace after having a baby, Mr Farage said: "If you are a doctor, a lawyer, a researcher and you are a woman, you have a baby, you take six months or a year off, you come back, you are not disadvantaged at all in that job.
"But there are other jobs in which if you take six months off and come back you find yourself actually behind the rest of the pack and earning less money. That is a fact of life.
"It's difficult to change that.
"There are changes, there are now a million men who now opt to stay at home and bring the kids up. So there are some quite big changes that are taking place."
Asked if he could have been a house husband, Mr Farage said: "I would have been absolutely useless."
Mr Farage said other politicians were like "cardboard cut-outs" who had gone through the same career path of public school, Oxford and then a Westminster job.
"If you look at the political class that we have got, by which I mean the people that go to the same handful of schools, all go to Oxford, all do the same degree."
Challenged on his own background as a schoolboy at Dulwich College, where boarders pay £12,108 a term, Mr Farage said: " My life has been fairly up and down since then, believe you me. It's not been a seamless transition .
"Actually, we look at these political figures, they are all like cardboard cut-outs, no one dares say anything or do anything, they are all playing safe, they are all scared of the media. I'm not.
"So, I'm a bit like Marmite - people either like me or they don't like me."
He said the dominance of privately-educated people in public life had created two separate Britains.
"Something has happened in this country - the 7% of people in Britain, boys and girls, whose parents are wealthy enough to send them to public school are now dominating the country in a way we've never seen before - sport, the arts, media, politics - and the rest are being left behind.
"We now have two Britains and the gap between the wealthy and those without gets bigger with every single year.
"What I'm trying to do is to do something that will change that and give people an even break."
Mr Farage said he was more nervous about appearing on Loose Women, with host Andrea McLean and panellists Linda Robson, Sawalha and Jane Moore, than being grilled by Jeremy Paxman.
"Dimbleby, Paxman, I can live with all that. I feel, here, I'm in the lion's den - please have some mercy."