Who is Nigel Farage? Everything you need to know about the Brexit Party leader ahead of the general election

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage arrives to appear on BBC TV's The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain, November 3, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
Here's everything you need to know about Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage (Picture: REUTERS/Yara Nardi)

After 25 years campaigning to get Britain out of the EU, Nigel Farage has nearly achieved his goal.

A key figure in the chain of events that have led us to the brink of Brexit, he is one of the most controversial people in British politics.

So who is the man responsible for shaking up Westminster?

Early years

Nigel Paul Farage was born on April 3, 1964 in Kent. He attended Dulwich College, where he developed a love of cricket, rugby and political debate, but he decided not to go to university and went to work in the City instead.

Farage worked as a City commodities trader from 1982, starting at London Metals Exchange, and was apparently popular with clients and fellow traders.

But despite his success, Farage retained his love of politics and it soon lured him back.

Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup - England v Australia - Lord's Cricket Ground, London, Britain - June 25, 2019   Nigel Farage in the stands   Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra
Mr Farage is a big cricket fan (Picture: Reuters/Peter Cziborra)

Political career

Farage joined the Conservative Party but became disillusioned with the direction the party was heading in under John Major.

The breaking point came when the then PM signed the Maastricht Treaty and he broke away from the party, helping found the UK Independence Party - known at that point as the Anti-Federalist League.

In 1999 Farage became one of three UKIP MEPs, representing South East England.

Former leader of UKIP Nigel Farage speaks to the media as Pro-Brexit and Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Nigel Farage has proved a controversial figure in British politics (Picture: REUTERS/Toby Melville)

He went on to become leader in 2006, replacing Roger Knapman, and declared “a war between UKIP and the entire political establishment”.

In the 2009 European elections, UKIP increased its number of MEPs to 13, winning more votes than Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

But its presence in the European Parliament didn’t mean it could succeed in the aim of getting Britain out of Europe, so Farage resigned as leader in 2009 to contest the UK’s Buckingham seat.

READ MORE: Nigel Farage accused of dropping Brexit Party candidates 'like a stone'

He lost out to former House of Commons Speaker John Bercow and an independent candidate.

It didn’t stop him trying and UKIP went on to increase its influence, gaining traction in English councils and going on to win the UK’s European election outright with 27.5% of the vote.

But it was in 2016 that Nigel Farage was to get his dream - when the result of the EU Referendum finally appeared to give him what he wanted.

Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), leaves after voting in the EU referendum, at a polling station in Biggin Hill, Britain June 23, 2016.   REUTERS/Dylan Martinez TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Farage finally got his dream in 2016 when the Leave camp won the EU referendum (Picture: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Some may have thought that was the end of Farage’s days in politics.

They were wrong.

In April 2019 he launched the Brexit Party, claiming the country was being betrayed over Brexit.

He originally said the party would contest every seat in Britain in the December general election unless Boris Johnson dropped his Brexit deal but went on to perform a U-turn, saying it would not field candidates in the 317 seats won by the Conservative Party at the last general election in 2017.

READ MORE: When is the UK general election and how do I vote?

Personal life

In some ways, Nigel Farage’s personal life has been as dramatic as his political one, including several brushes with death.

In the first in his early 20s, he was run over in Orpington, Kent, after a night in the pub, suffering severe injuries.

Months after recovering, Farage was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

The light aircraft that crashed at Hinton-in-the-Hedges airfield, near Brackley, injuring Ukip candidate Nigel Farage and the plane's pilot.   (Photo by Rui Vieira/PA Images via Getty Images)
Farage was seriously injured on the day of the 2010 general election when the light aircraft he was in crashed (Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Images via Getty Images)

On the day of the 2010 general election, a small plane Farage was flying in crashed after its UKIP promotion banner got entangled.

He later said the experience had further galvanised him, saying: "I think it's made me more 'me' than I was before, to be honest. Even more fatalistic. Even more convinced it's not a dress rehearsal. Even more driven than I was before. And I am driven."

Farage’s first wife Grainne Hayes was his nurse following his car crash. The couple went on to have two sons.

He then married German national Kirsten Mehr in 1999 and they went on to have two daughters.

READ MORE: How does voting work in a UK general election and what is First Past the Post?

Away from politics

Aside from being a successful trader, Farage is also a broadcaster with his own show on radio station LBC.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05:  Nigel Farage joins LBC where he will present his own nightly show 'The Nigel Farage Show' which starts on January 9th 2017 at LBC Studio on January 5, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)
Mr Farage has his own show on LBC and has interview Donald Trump (Picture: John Phillips/Getty Images)

He has garnered support from Donald Trump, who was recently interviewed by Farage on his show. Farage is also a familiar face at Trump’s rallies in the US.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, Farage has come in for a fair amount of controversial reaction.

In 2013 he was apparently forced to take refuge in an Edinburgh pub from what he described as ‘supporters of Scottish nationalism’, while in 2015 he was chased by activists in London.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage gestures after being hit with a milkshake while arriving for a Brexit Party campaign event in Newcastle, Britain, May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Heppell
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage gestures after being hit with a milkshake while arriving for a Brexit Party campaign event in Newcastle, Britain, May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Heppell

In May 2019, he voiced concerns over the hatred he said was being directed at him after a milkshake was thrown over him during a visit in Newcastle.

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