Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage MEP
Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party
Assumed office
5 November 2010
Preceded by Jeffrey Titford
In office
27 September 2006 – 27 November 2009
Preceded by Roger Knapman
Succeeded by Lord Pearson of Rannoch
Member of the European Parliament
for South East England
Assumed office
15 July 1999
Personal details
Born 3 April 1964 (1964-04-03) (age 47)
Kent, England, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party UK Independence Party
Spouse(s) Gráinne Hayes (1988-?, divorced)
Kirsten Mehr (1999-present)
Children 4
Alma mater Dulwich College
Website Nigel Farage MEP

Nigel Paul Farage MEP (play /fəˈrɑːʒ/;[1][2] fah-raj; born 3 April 1964)[citation needed] is a British politician and is the Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP),[3] a position he previously held from September 2006 to November 2009. He is a current Member of the European Parliament for South East England and co-chairs the Eurosceptic Europe of Freedom and Democracy group.

Farage was a founding member of the UKIP, having left the Conservative Party in 1992 after they signed the Maastricht Treaty. Having unsuccessfully campaigned in European and Westminster parliamentary elections for UKIP since 1994, he gained a seat as an MEP for South East England in the 1999 European Parliament Election — the first year the regional list system was used — and was re-elected in 2004 and 2009. Farage describes himself as a libertarian and rejects the notion that he is a conservative.

In September 2006, Farage became the UKIP Leader and led the party through the 2009 European Parliament Election in which it received the second highest share of the popular vote, defeating Labour and the Liberal Democrats with over two million votes. However he stepped down in November 2009 to concentrate on contesting the Speaker John Bercow's seat of Buckingham in the 2010 general election.

At the 2010 General Election, Farage failed to unseat John Bercow and received only the third highest share of the vote in the constituency. Shortly after the polls opened on 6 May 2010, Nigel Farage was injured in an aircraft crash in Northamptonshire. The two-seated PZL-104 Wilga 35A had been towing a pro-UKIP banner when it flipped over and crashed shortly after takeoff. Both Farage and the pilot were hospitalised with non-life-threatening injuries.[4]

In November 2010, Farage successfully stood in the 2010 UKIP leadership contest,[5] following the resignation of its leader, Lord Pearson of Rannoch. Farage was also ranked 41st (out of 100) in The Daily Telegraph's Top 100 most influential right-wingers poll in October 2009, citing his media savvy and his success with UKIP in the European Elections.[6] Farage was ranked 58th in the 2010 list compiled by Iain Dale and Brian Brivati for the Daily Telegraph.



Farage was educated at Dulwich College before joining a commodity brokerage firm in London. He ran his own brokerage business from the early 1990s until 2002. In his early 20s Farage was diagnosed with testicular cancer but made a full recovery.[7]

Farage has been married twice. He married Gráinne Hayes in 1988, with whom he had two children: Samuel (1989) and Thomas (1991). In 1999 he married Kirsten Mehr, a German national, by whom he has two more children, Victoria (born 2000) and Isabelle (born 2005).[8]

Farage has also penned his own memoirs, entitled "Fighting Bull." It outlines the founding of UKIP and his personal and political life so far.

Political career

Conservative Party

Active in the Conservative Party from his school days, Farage left the party in 1992 when John Major's government signed the Treaty on European Union at Maastricht.

UKIP and the European Parliament

Farage became a founding member of UKIP in 1993.

He was elected to the European Parliament in 1999 and re-elected in 2004 and 2009. Farage is presently the leader of the thirteen-member UKIP contingent in the European Parliament, and co-leader of the multinational eurosceptic group, Europe of Freedom and Democracy.

UKIP party leadership

On 12 September 2006, Farage was elected leader of UKIP with 45% of the vote, 20% ahead of his nearest rival.[9] He pledged to bring discipline to the party and to maximise UKIP's representation in local, parliamentary and other elections.[citation needed] In a PM programme interview on 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 campaign, committing himself not to stand against the MPs who have signed up to that campaign (ten in all at this moment).

At his maiden speech to the UKIP conference on 8 October 2006, he told delegates that the party was "at the centre-ground of British public opinion" and the "real voice of opposition". Farage 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."[10]

At 10pm on 19 October 2006, Farage took part in a three-hour live interview and phone-in with James Whale on 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". However Whale later decided not to stand and UKIP was represented by Gerard Batten.[11] He stood again for UKIP leadership in 2010 after his successor Lord Pearson stood down.[5] On the 5th November 2010 it was announced Farage had won the leadership contest.[12]

Westminster elections

Farage had unsuccessfully contested UK 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 was ever elected to the House of Commons, he would have to resign his seat as an MEP.

When he contested the Bromley & Chislehurst constituency in a May 2006 by-election, organised after the sitting MP representing it, eurosceptic Conservative Eric Forth, died, Farage came third, winning 8% 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 mainland Britain.

2010 UK General election

On 4 September 2009 Farage resigned as leader of UKIP to concentrate on his campaign to become Member of Parliament for Buckingham at Westminster in the 2010 general election.[13] He later told Times journalist Camilla Long that UKIP internal fights took up too much time.[14]

He stood against Buckingham MP John Bercow, the newly elected Speaker of the House of Commons, despite a 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.[15]

On 6 May, on the morning the polls opened in the election, just before eight o'clock Farage was involved in a light aircraft crash, suffering injuries described as non-life-threatening. A spokesperson told the BBC that "it was unlikely Mr Farage would be discharged from hospital today [6 May][16] Although his injuries were originally described as minor, his sternum and ribs were broken, and his lung punctured.[17] The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) report said that the aeroplane was towing a banner, which caught in the tailplane, forcing the nose down.[18]

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).[19]

On 1 December 2010, the pilot of the aircraft involved in the accident was charged with threatening to kill Farage. He was also charged with threatening to kill an AAIB official involved in the investigation into the accident.[20] In April 2011, Justin Adams was found guilty of making death threats. The judge said 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."[21]

Alternative Vote referendum, May 2011

Farage declared himself personally in favour of the Alternative Vote system of May 2011, saying first-past-the-post is a "nightmare" for UKIP. However, the party's stance has to be decided by its central policy making committee.[22]

Controversies and whistleblowing

Copyright infringement

In 1999 the BBC spent four months filming a documentary about his European elections campaign but didn't show it. Farage, then head of UKIP's South East office, asked for a video and got friends to make illegal copies which were sold for £5 through the UKIP magazine. Surrey Trading Standards investigated and Farage has admitted the offence.[23]

Expenses disclosure

In May 2009, The Guardian reported that Farage had said in a speech to the Foreign Press Association that over ten years as a member of the European Parliament he received £2 million of taxpayers' money in staff, travel, and other expenses on top of his £64,000 a year salary.[24]

The former Europe Minister, Denis MacShane, said that this showed that Farage was "happy to line his pockets with gold". Farage called this a "misrepresentation",[25] pointing out that the money had been used to promote UKIP's message, not salary, but he welcomed the focus on the issue of MEP expenses, claiming that "[o]ver a five year term each and every one of Britain's 78 MEPs gets about £1 million. It is used to employ administrative staff, run their offices and to travel back and forth between their home, Brussels and Strasbourg."[26] He also pointed out the money spent on the YES campaign in Ireland by the European Commission was "something around 440 million"[citation needed], making the NO campaign's figure insignificant in comparison.

Jacques Barrot

On 18 November 2004, Farage announced in the European Parliament that Jacques Barrot, the French Commissioner designate, had been barred from elected office in France for 2 years, after being convicted in 2000 of embezzling £2 million from government funds and diverting it into the coffers of his party. He claimed that French President Jacques Chirac had granted Barrot amnesty. Although initial BBC reports claimed that, under French law, it was illegal even to mention the conviction,[27] the prohibition in question only applies to French officials in the course of their duties.[28] The president of the Parliament, Josep Borrell, enjoined him to retract his comments under threat of "legal consequences".[29] However, the following day it was confirmed that Barrot had received an 8 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 Commission's president, Jose Manuel Barroso admitted that he had not known of Barrot's criminal record when appointing him as a Commission vice-president.[citation needed] The Socialist and Liberal groups in the European Parliament then joined UKIP in demanding the sacking of Barrot for failing to disclose the conviction during his confirmation hearings.

José Manuel Barroso

During the spring of 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 Spiro Latsis. It emerged soon afterwards that this had occurred a month before the Commission under Barroso's predecessor Romano Prodi approved 10.3 million euro of Greek state aid for Latsis' shipping company.[30] It also became known that Peter Mandelson, then a member of the Commission, 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.[31] The motion was successfully tabled on 12 May 2005, and Barroso appeared before Parliament[32] 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 group's leader Hans-Gert Poettering as a result of his support for Farage's motion.

Joseph Daul

In January 2007, the French farmers' leader Joseph Daul was elected the new leader of the European People's Party–European Democrats (EPP-ED), the European Parliamentary grouping which then included the British Conservatives. The UK Independence Party almost immediately revealed that Daul had been under judicial investigation in France since 2004 as part of an inquiry into the alleged misuse of public funds worth €16 million (£10.6 million) by French farming unions."[33] It was not suggested that Daul had personally benefited, but was accused of "complicity and concealment of the abuse of public funds." Daul accused Farage of publicising the investigation for political reasons and threatened to sue Farage, but did not do so though the court dropped all charges against him.

Prince Charles

Prince Charles gave a speech to the European Parliament on 14 February 2008, in which he called for EU leadership in the war against climate change. During the standing ovation that followed, Farage was the only MEP to remain seated and went on to describe the Prince's advisers as "naïve and foolish at best."[34] 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 persuade 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 represents."[34]

Herman Van Rompuy

After the speech of Herman Van Rompuy on 24 February 2010 in the European parliament, Farage—to protests from other MEPs—addressed the first long-term President of the European Council saying that he has the "charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of low grade bank clerk".[35] 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 European nation states."[35] In the same speech he also referred to Belgium, the home of Van Rompuy, as a "non-country".[36] Van Rompuy commented afterwards, "There was one contribution that I can only hold in contempt, but I'm not going to comment further."[35] 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) rescinded.[37] [38]

The President of the European Parliament, Jerzy 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 the 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'.[38]

Questioned by Camilla Long, Farage declared of his speech "it wasn't abusive, it was right."[14]

Views on the euro

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 structually different economies, often using the example of Greece and Germany to emphasise contrast. He predicted the need for 'bail outs' before European Commission and European Central Bank officials admitted that these steps would be necessary. Specifically, Farage predicted that Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain would all require such assistance. To date Spain is the only predicted country that has not asked for a 'bail out' but Farage warns: "You can ignore the markets if you want to, but in time the markets will not ignore you". Farage also reinforces Germany's argument that Italy "should never have joined the euro" but he has not explicitly predicted the need for similar financial assistance in the case of Italy.

Farage predicts that if the situation continues it will lead to violence due to the peoples inability to "determine their own futures through the ballot box" as it will become the only "logical" tool to enable them to escape from their "economic prison" i.e. the Eurozone. He proclaims "I can only hope and pray that the euro project is destroyed by the markets before that really happens."

Farage strongly opposes the use of 'bail outs' and claims that "buying your own debt with tax payers money" will not solve the problem and that, "if we do, the next debt crisis won't be a country", "it will be the European Central Bank itself".[39][40]

Electoral performance

Nigel Farage has contested several elections under the United Kingdom Independence Party banner:


  1. ^ Matthew Parris (10 September 2009). "Nigel Farage? Might as well be Johnny foreigner". The Times (London). Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  2. ^ "BBC Question Time - UKIP Nigel Farage Feb 2009". Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  3. ^ "Nigel Farage Re-Elected UKIP Party Leader". Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Edwards, Richard (7 May 2010). "Daily Telegraph". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  5. ^ a b Andrew Sparrow "Nigel Farage to stand for Ukip leadership again", The Guardian, 3 September 2010
  6. ^ Dale, Iain; Brivati, Brian (5 October 2009). "Daily Telegraph". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  7. ^ | accessdate=8 March 2011
  8. ^ Watts, Robert (2007-03-11). "Making plans with Nigel". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "Politics | UKIP 'voice of British majority'". London: BBC News Online. 2006-10-07. 
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ "UKIP: Nigel Farafe Re-Elected As Leader Of the UK Independence Party, Taking Over From Lord Pearson". Sky News. 5 November 2010.,_Taking_Over_From_Lord_Pearson. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  13. ^ Farage to quit as UKIP Leader, UKIP website, Retrieved 4 September 2009
  14. ^ a b Camilla Long "Nigel Farage: Brimming over with bile and booze", The Times, 21 March 2010
  15. ^ "Farage to stand against Speaker". London: BBC News Online. 2009-09-03. 
  16. ^ Nigel Farage injured in plane crash in Northamptonshire, BBC News Website, Retrieved 6 May 2010
  17. ^ Nigel Farndale (2010-11-18). "Nigel Farage: born to rant". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  18. ^ "AAIB Bulletin: 11/2010 G-BWDF 6 May 2010 at 0659 hrs". Air Accidents Investigation Branch.,%20G-BWDF%2011-2010.pdf. Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  19. ^ Dowling, Tim (7 May 2010). "Election results: Ukip's Nigel Farage finishes behind John Bercow and Flipper". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  20. ^ "Crash pilot 'threatened to kill UKIP's Nigel Farage'". BBC News online. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  21. ^ "Nigel Farage death threats crash pilot guilty". BBC News online. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  22. ^ "AV referendum: Where parties stand". BBC News. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 11-02-2011. 
  23. ^ Robert Watts "Making plans with Nigel", Sunday Telegraph, 11 March 2007
  24. ^ Helm, Toby (2009-05-24). "Ukip leader boasts of his £2m in expenses | Politics | The Observer". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  25. ^ "McShane misses the point on expenses - UK Independence Party". 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  26. ^ "MEP expense spotlight turns focus to EU - UK Independence Party". 2009-05-25. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  27. ^ "BBC NEWS | Europe | Profile: Jacques Barrot". 2004-11-22. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  28. ^ The prohibition contained in the French penal code against mentioning crimes covered by an amnesty only concerns French officials who may hear of such crimes in the course of their duties (CP L133-11), and does not apply generally (L133-10).
  29. ^ "Impressions on the new European Commission (2), 18/11/2004 - MEP Nigel Farage replies to Parliament President Josep Borrell who urged him to reflect on his comments and the possible legal consequences.". Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  30. ^ Castle, Stephen (2005-05-26). "Barroso survives confidence debate over free holiday with Greek tycoon - Europe, World - The Independent". London: Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  31. ^ "". Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  32. ^ "Europe | Barroso rebuffs yacht questions". London: BBC News. 2005-05-25. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  33. ^ Waterfield, Bruno (2007-01-13). "EU Right's new leader at heart of funds inquiry". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  34. ^ a b "Politics | UKIP anger at prince's EU speech". London: BBC News. 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  35. ^ a b c "Tirade against 'damp rag' EU president shocks MEPs". London: BBC News. 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  36. ^ EUX.TV YouTube channel - Nigel Farage harangues EU President Herman van Rompuy Uploaded on 24 February 2010; Retrieved 27 February 2010
  37. ^ "MEP Nigel Farage fined over 'insulting' tirade". BBC News. 2010-03-02. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  38. ^ a b "EP President Jerzy BUZEK on MEP Nigel FARAGE - 68659". European Parliament. 2010-03-03. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  39. ^ ""Nigel Farage - Europe Trapped Inside an Economic Prison" (A collage of speeches by UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and Brussels as Co-President of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group (EFD). Excerpts relate to the euro currency crisis leading up to the bailouts of Greece (May 2010), Ireland (November 2010) and Portugal (April 2011). Video credit ~ europarl:". 22 April 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  40. ^ | europarl speech archives, with full list of all of Mr Farage's speeches in plenary that are referred to in my original source video | accessdate=2011-04-27


External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Chairman of the UK Independence Party
Succeeded by
Mike Nattrass
Preceded by
Roger Knapman
Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party
Succeeded by
The Lord Pearson of Rannoch
Preceded by
Jeffrey Titford
Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party

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