Lee Anderson 'bombarded' Nigel Farage on WhatsApp trying to change his mind on election

Nigel Farage and Lee Anderson in Kirkby, with the Kirkby Morrisons seen in the background and a group of journalists huddled around the pair
-Credit: (Image: Nottingham Post/Oliver Pridmore)

Nigel Farage says Lee Anderson "bombarded" him with WhatsApp messages urging him to stand in the upcoming general election. Mr Farage joked that Mr Anderson was a "terrible bully" after recently changing his mind on standing to be an MP on July 4.

Mr Farage initially said he would not be standing in the general election given that he was prioritising the US election in November. Yet during a visit to Skegby in Ashfield in early June, Mr Farage hinted to Nottinghamshire Live that he would change his mind.

Days later, Mr Farage confirmed that he would indeed stand in the election and that he was taking over the leadership of Reform UK from Richard Tice. During a speech announcing that decision, Mr Farage mentioned visits to Skegness and Ashfield as having played a role in making him change his mind.

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Asked during a visit to Ashfield on Tuesday (June 11) how much credit he would give Ashfield for his change of heart, Mr Farage told Nottinghamshire Live: "I do like Lee Anderson. But, he's a terrible bully.

"He has been bombarding me on WhatsApp with endless messages saying you've got to do this. Lee was part of it and the reason I changed my mind is because as I went round the country, before the violence started, [a] number of people said to me they were disappointed that I wasn't running.

"[It was] almost like I'd let down five million people who at times have voted for me over the years." Mr Farage was on a whistle-stop tour of several constituencies on Tuesday and his first stop of the day had been in Barnsley, where video footage appeared to show a man throwing cement at the Reform UK open-top bus, narrowly missing Mr Farage.

Asked how he was feeling following the incident, Mr Farage said: "It was pretty nasty in Barnsley this morning." On the election campaign in general, the Reform UK leader said: "It's damn difficult and I'm being pulled in all directions."

Mr Farage was in Ashfield to support Lee Anderson, first elected in 2019 as the area's Conservative MP and now standing for Reform UK. The party leader's visit started in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, where the cricket fan was shown the statues of Harold Larwood, Sir Donald Bradman and William Voce in Kirkby town centre.

After a pint in The Regent Wetherspoons pub, Mr Farage went on to visit the engineering firm Boneham & Turner in Sutton. Below are all the candidates standing in Ashfield on July 4, presented in alphabetical order by surname.

Reform UK

Lee Anderson


Alexander Coates

Liberal Democrats

Daniel Holmes


Rhea Keehn


Debbie Soloman


Jason Zadrozny