Nigel Farage offers views on Hitler and Putin during BBC phone-in

Nigel Farage has described Adolf Hitler as “hypnotic in a very dangerous way” after reiterating his admiration for Vladimir Putin as a “political operator”.

The Reform UK leader offered his view on the public speaking abilities of Nazi Germany dictator Hitler when asked about him during a live BBC phone-in.

He also suggested Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky should enter negotiations with Russia, although he acknowledged Kyiv’s Western allies will continue support to support them.

Mr Farage, challenged about his previous remarks praising Russian president Mr Putin as an operator, told Nicky Campbell on BBC Radio 5 Live: “Yeah, but not as a human being.”

Asked why, Mr Farage replied: “How many years has he been in power? He’s gone from prime minister, to president, he’s a clever political operator. He kills journalists, I don’t like him as a human being in any way at all.

“You can recognise the fact that some people are good at what they do even if they have evil intent.”

Asked if Hitler was good at what he did, Mr Farage replied: “What, as a public speaker? What do you think? Clearly, hypnotic in a very dangerous way.”

On whether talks should be held with Russia to end the war with Ukraine, Mr Farage replied: “This war has been going on for years, it is likely to go on for many, many more years.

“We’re looking at something like a million casualties between the two sides.”

Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage at an announcement of the party’s economic policy during a press conference at Church House in London
Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage at an announcement of the party’s economic policy during a press conference at Church House in London (James Manning/PA)

Mr Farage added: “I’m not saying we shouldn’t support Ukraine at all, not for one minute, but at the end of the day most wars end in negotiation and I fear, if we don’t find some way of at least sitting down and talking, that we’re going to finish up with a war that goes on for year after year after year.”

He said he believed the “big difficulty would be Crimea”, adding: “Is it a bad idea to get people to sit around a table and talk?”

Mr Farage was asked what he would say if he was in a position of influence and had a meeting with Mr Zelensky.

He said: “I’d say to Zelensky, look, the West have been supporting you, they will go on supporting you but the percentage of your young manhood that you’re losing is so bad, isn’t it time we at least tried to have a negotiation – he couldn’t say no.”

Elsewhere in his Friday morning broadcast media appearances, Mr Farage was challenged to explain what he meant when he said Rishi Sunak does not understand “our culture” – in the wake of the Prime Minister leaving the D-Day commemorations early.

Former City trader Mr Farage, who was a schoolboy at fee-paying Dulwich College, told BBC Breakfast: “He doesn’t know where the centre-ground of opinion in this country is. Rishi is Winchester College, Oxford University, Goldman Sachs – he has no connection to working people in this country at all.”

Pressed further on his language and asked if the colour of Mr Sunak’s skin was a factor, Mr Farage replied: “No, he’s British born for goodness sake – 40% of the contribution in two World Wars came from Commonwealth countries, there are plenty of people here who have come from families who came from the Commonwealth who fully understand this, he doesn’t and that’s part of the problem.”

He went on: “Too many of our ruling class have no connection with the culture of this country, don’t understand what people’s problems are, don’t understand what their aspirations are, and I’m telling you that I do.”

In a press conference on Friday afternoon, Mr Farage claimed he had done more than anybody else to “destroy” the British National Party as an electoral force.

Responding to a question comparing his party to the right-wing German AfD, Mr Farage said during his time as Ukip leader he had an “absolute rule” to prevent anyone linked to the BNP or similar organisations from becoming a member of the party.

He added: “The same thing applies this time.

Nigel Farage has a nail painted at On The Lash beauty salon, in Hoyland, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, whilst on the General Election campaign trail
Nigel Farage has a nail painted at On The Lash beauty salon, in Hoyland, Barnsley while on the General Election campaign trail (Danny Lawson/PA)

“Of course, because it’s been a very rapidly called election, and because 450 of our candidates have never stood before, they’re not politicos, they would have liked things on Facebook with links to somebody else, it doesn’t make them extreme right or far right.

“I don’t want support from people like that. I’ve never had the support or worked with people like that. I never will support people like that. I am acutely aware of the problem. We are in a better place with all of that than the AfD.”