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Nigel Farage: The straight-talking Brexit campaigner

Thought of by many as the face of Brexit, Mr Farage has spent 25 years as the leading campaigner for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Nigel Farage (PA)
Nigel Farage (PA)

By Catherine Wylie, PA

Nigel Farage has spent his political career campaigning for Brexit – and his crusade continues.

The man who wanted his country back and, after succeeding, his life back, Mr Farage oversaw the transformation of the UK Independence Party from a fringe party to major political force during the Brexit campaign.

The former City boy was the driving force behind Ukip’s surge following the 2014 European elections, steam-rollering his way to the front and centre of public consciousness with his staunchly politically incorrect stance on everything from immigration to breastfeeding.

Mr Farage, now 55, is still determined to secure what he calls “a proper Brexit”, which he says is about the UK becoming an independent country – being free, being able to make our own decisions, and being out from under the rule book of the European Union, as he puts it.

Thought of by many as the face of Brexit, Mr Farage has spent 25 years as the leading campaigner for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, and has been a Member of the European Parliament since 1999.

The Brexit Party leader, who almost died in a light aircraft in 2010, is known for his straight-talking style and seemed at times to hold Ukip together by the sheer force of personality.

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An investigator looks at wreckage of the light aircraft that crashed at Hinton-in-the-Hedges airfield, near Brackley, injuring Ukip candidate Nigel Farage (PA)

But despite his verve and political presence, Mr Farage has been unable to persuade voters to put him in the UK Parliament.

He fell at the final hurdle in his attempt to turn Ukip’s Euro election “earthquake” into a Commons seat for himself in 2015 – but the sweetest victory of all was to come for Mr Farage.

Accused of stooping to racist imagery with the infamous “Breaking Point” poster depicting streams of refugees fleeing to the EU, Mr Farage saw his decades-long campaign for Britain to quit Brussels triumph in the 2016 referendum.

Not long after the referendum, he decided to step aside as party leader, leaving the national stage as one of the most divisive – and successful – politicians of modern times.

But his political days were not over. In April 2019, Mr Farage launched the Brexit Party, vowing to lead a fightback against an establishment which he said has betrayed the country over Brexit.

Mr Farage said Britain had become a nation of “lions led by donkeys”.

In May 2019, he said he was “concerned” about the level of “hatred” being directed at him after he was doused with a banana and salted caramel milkshake while on a walkabout in Newcastle city centre.

Launching the Brexit Party’s General Election campaign in November 2019, Mr Farage attracted a sizeable press pack, with reporters, broadcasters and photographers queued outside the venue up to an hour before he was due to speak.

The politician has himself turned his hand to broadcasting and has a show on UK radio station LBC, where he recently conducted a half-hour long interview with US President Donald Trump.

Mr Farage has been a prominent supporter of Mr Trump and boosted his own profile across the Atlantic during frequent appearances at the Republican’s rallies during the last US election campaign.

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Donald Trump with Nigel Farage (Tia Dufour/The White House/PA)

Both Mr Farage and Mr Trump have suggested that Brexit and the controversial tycoon’s election as president are linked phenomena.

The “Ukip fox is in the Westminster hen house”, he once told reporters after making sweeping gains in the local elections.

But the Commons looks unlikely to be welcoming him any time soon after he ruled out making an eighth bid to become an MP ahead of the December 12 General Election.

Instead he predicted he could “serve the cause better traversing the length and breadth of the United Kingdom supporting 600 candidates”, in a threat to the Tories.

PA

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