Nigel Farage claims he is ‘53, separated and skint’

Former Ukip leader says ‘there’s no money in politics’ in a new interview with ‘Daily Mail’

File image of former Ukip leader Nigel Farage at a debate on the progress of the Brexit talks, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg,  France. File photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

File image of former Ukip leader Nigel Farage at a debate on the progress of the Brexit talks, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. File photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

 

Nigel Farage, the former leader of Ukip, has bemoaned being “53, separated and skint” in an interview, saying “there’s no money in politics”.

In a new interview in the Daily Mail, Farage discusses his personal life and his 24-year-long political career, while claiming his “contempt for career politicians knows no bounds”.

“There’s no money in politics, particularly doing it the way I’ve done it – 20 years of spending more than you earn,” he told the newspaper.

Farage has faced criticism on social media for his claims that he is “skint”, with many pointing out he lives in a £4 million (about €4.5 million) townhouse in London’s Chelsea and has been taking a salary as an MEP for southeast England since 1999.

He also recently said he would not give up his annual pension from the EU, understood to be worth £73,000 a year.

The monthly pre-tax salary of MEPs under the single statute is €8,484.05 a month, according to the European Parliament website, which works out at about £90,000 a year.

Most recent official statistics revealed average weekly pay in the UK, excluding bonuses, is £478, equal to about £25,000 a year.

Farage founded Ukip in 1993 and has unsuccessfully stood for election to the House of Commons seven times, in five general elections and two by-elections.

He resigned three times as Ukip leader, most recently in July 2016, although he did return as acting leader when his successor, Diane James, stepped down only 18 days into the role.

He has faced criticism for his poor record as an MEP, with the website VoteWatch Europe ranking him as 748th out of 751 for voting participation at the European Parliament.

According to the Daily Mail article, Farage “cares deeply about his country” and is “one of the most successful politicians of his generation”. The interviewer also says Farage’s “soulfulness is unexpected”.

Endorsements

In September, Farage endorsed the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the run-up to the German federal elections, saying it would be a “historic achievement” if the party, described by critics as 21st-century fascists, entered the Bundestag.

He also recently provoked outrage by throwing his support behind Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate who is facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including against teenagers. Moore denies all allegations.

The Mail interview concludes with Farage stating that “2016 is not just a blip but a genuine sea change in the way people are prepared to trust what they see on the telly and are told by their so-called betters”.

He says the “establishment is fighting back as hard as it can, but Joe Public’s not shifting”, before he announces he has to catch a flight from London to Brussels.

– Guardian service