Nigel Farage: I could lead Ukip again

The three-time leader of Ukip says a second EU referendum is back on the agenda

(Image credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Nigel Farage predicts 'seismic shock' at 2020 election

24 November

Nigel Farage predicted a "seismic shock" at the next general election as he celebrated his most successful year in politics with an "ambassador's reception" at the Ritz Hotel in London last night.

Ukip's interim leader was guest of honour at a party thrown by millionaire backers including Arron Banks, the party's major donor, and Sir David and Sir Barclay, the reclusive twins who own the hotel and the Telegraph Group.

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Photographs show the politician clowning around with piles of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, in a reference to US president-elect Donald Trump's assertion that he should be the UK ambassador to Washington.

A 1980s' ad campaign showed the sweets being handed around at an "ambassador's party", with one guest saying: "Monsieur, with these Rocher you are really spoiling us."

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The Guardian reports the 120 guests included Conservative Eurosceptic MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and Labour donor John Mills, who drank English sparkling wine from Tory grandee Lord Ashcroft's winery and ate roast beef and coronation chicken canapes.

Farage told his supporters: "In America, the revolution is total. Not only have the people spoken and won, but the old administration, Obama and all those ghastly people, are out and the Trump people are in. In this country, the people have spoken but the same players have just been shuffled around the chess board and we are still being run by the career professional political class.

"I am not sure what is going to happen over the course of the next couple of years but I suspect there's another big seismic shock in British politics perhaps going to come at the next election."

Saying he "suspected" that the Conservative Party was "not fit for the legacy of Brexit", he predicted a "genuine realignment of British politics" over the next four years.

He added: "For those of you who aren't particularly happy with what happened in 2016, I've got some really bad news for you – it's going to get a bloody sight worse next year."

Farage, who stands down as Ukip leader on Monday, will travel to Washington DC again next month to have further talks with Trump.

US election 2016: Will Farage bridge 'special relationship'?

11 November

Nigel Farage may be used by the UK government in order to strengthen diplomatic ties with the US following Donald Trump's shock victory in the Tuesday's presidential election, the Daily Telegraph claims.

In a report today, the paper says it "understands that ministers will be forced to seek Mr Farage's advice because they have no links to the president-elect's inner circle".

While they welcomed his appointment this week, Prime Minister Theresa May, along with other government ministers, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, were openly critical of Trump in the run-up to the election. Farage has suggested that relations between the two countries have deteriorated as a result.

Trump is understood to be an admirer of the interim Ukip leader and invited him to speak at a rally in Mississippi during his campaign for the White House.

However, the BBC says claims of the former MEP being used as a "go-between" are erroneous and an insider close to May referred to him as "an irrelevance".

The Prime Minister spoke with Trump on the phone yesterday, when the president-elect suggested he wanted them to forge a relationship as close as that of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

Sources close to Farage also said he has no intention of working with Conservative ministers regarding diplomatic relations.

Despite being back at the helm of Ukip, following the shock resignation of Diane James last month, Farage said after the Brexit vote that he was retiring from politics. "I want my life back," he said. It was the third time he had stepped down from leading the party.

Speaking after the US election result this week, Farage called outgoing US President Barack Obama a "loathsome creature" and joked about warning Trump not to "touch" May once he becomes president.

Diane James quits as Ukip leader – and Nigel Farage returns

5 October

Nigel Farage has once again returned as Ukip leader after Diane James resigned after 18 days in the job.

The South East England MEP became the first woman to lead the Eurosceptic party on 16 September, following a leadership election caused by Farage stepping down after the EU referendum.

However, last night she announced she will not be formalising her nomination as Ukip leader.

Why has she quit?

James says she made the decision because she did not have "sufficient authority" nor the "full support" of all her MEP colleagues and party officers. "For personal and professional reasons, therefore, I will not take the election process further," she said.

According to the Daily Telegraph, she "felt uneasy about her new role ever since she was spat at on a train station platform after winning the leadership contest".

James was apparently unhappy about signing her official declaration confirming her as Ukip's new leader and reportedly added the words "under duress" in Latin to the document. The Electoral Commission confirmed today it received the paperwork but it has not been processed.

So who is in charge now?

Farage today announced he would be Ukip's interim leader until a fresh election is held. "I keep trying to escape... and before I'm finally free, they drag me back," he said.

Will Farage return permanently?

Last night's shock announcement has led to speculation Farage could permanently lead the party again. It would not be the first time he has returned – the politician stepped down in 2009, only to come back a year later. He also resigned for three days after the 2015 general election.

Arj Singh, the political correspondent for the Press Association, says Farage insists he will not return on a permanent basis.

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Party chairman Paul Oakden said Farage coming back as leader was "very unlikely", but added: "I wouldn't say anything is impossible right now."

Who is in the running then?

Ukip officials will meet to decide how to replace James, with reports surfacing of a snap election within two weeks.

The ballot is expected to include former deputy Paul Nuttall, former deputy chair Suzanne Evans, former chief of staff to Farage, Raheem Kassam and MEP Steven Woolfe, who was disqualified from the last leadership campaign for handing in his nomination papers too late.

Is Nigel Farage about to become a television host?

8 September

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage could become a fixture on the small screen after Russia Today apparently offered him his own television show.

Executives at the broadcaster, which has been accused of following a pro-Kremlin line, want to bolster its English-language output to tie in with November's US presidential elections, reports the Daily Telegraph.

According to reports, Farage has discussed a number of options with channel bosses, including a role as a roving reporter during the White House election.

Farage told the Daily Telegraph that he has yet to agree to front any programme for the broadcaster. He said: "I've appeared on RT occasionally. They are a broadcaster with an audience. They may well have a political agenda, but you can't ignore them."

The anti-EU firebrand, who has previously been compared to the fictional broadcaster Alan Partridge, has hosted his own phone-in slot on LBC radio and made countless appearances on several television shows.

Other figures approached by Russia Today, now referred to as RT, are believed to include the right-wing controversy magnet Katie Hopkins and the comedian Russell Brand.

The channel has been sanctioned 15 times by broadcasting regulator Ofcom, often for breaches of impartiality rules, says the Telegraph.

Quizzed about RT in 2013, Russian president Vladimir Putin admitted: "The channel is funded by the government, so it cannot help but reflect the Russian government's official position on the events in our country and in the rest of the world one way or another."

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