17:14 GMT15 August 2020
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    Nigel Farage, perennial parliamentary hopeful and twice-former UKIP leader, has suggested he may stand in the June 8 UK General Election, and said current party chief Paul Nuttall has six weeks "to prove himself," raising the prospect Farage could once again head the now-ailing Euroskeptic party.

    In an interview with mainstream radio, Farage said his decision on the issue would be made within days, and he was considering from which standing he could have the most impact on the shape of Brexit.

    "I haven't decided yet. I have got to weigh it up. I am still leading a group in the European Parliament, where of course ultimately there will be a veto over the whole Brexit deal and where the negotiations will take place over the next two years. I've got to weigh up where am I best to be in terms of having an impact on Brexit and perhaps warning the British public it's not going in the direction it should be. Am I better off staying in Strasbourg or better of trying to go to Westminster?" Farage said.

    When asked whether he believed he would win a seat, he replied affirmatively — although a review of Farage's extensive electoral history may suggest his certainty is misplaced. He has tried and failed to gain a parliamentary seat seven times as of April 2017, in five general elections and two by-elections. Farage's first attempt was the 1994 Eastleigh by-election, where he secured a mere 952 votes (1.7 percent), 179 more than next-placed candidate David Sutch of the Monster Raving Loony Party.

    Nonetheless, despite his seemingly calamitous record, he has generally secured an escalating share of the vote over time. In the 2015 General Election, he came second in South Thanet, but 2,812 votes behind victorious Conservative Craig MacKinlay.

    Elsewhere, in response to suggestions UKIP's incumbent leadership was weak, Farage countered that Nuttall was "a strong man" — although conceded he had six weeks to "prove himself," the evident implication being, should UKIP perform poorly June 8, Nuttall's days at the helm could be numbered.

    United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) newly elected leader Paul Nuttall speaks after the announcement of his success in the leadership election, in London, Britain November 28, 2016
    © REUTERS / Toby Melville
    United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) newly elected leader Paul Nuttall speaks after the announcement of his success in the leadership election, in London, Britain November 28, 2016

    "Paul walked into this job, I guess he has probably himself been shocked at how tough it is but he now realizes exactly what he is facing and I think he will come through very strongly," Farage added.

    Opinion polls as of April 20 place UKIP fourth in the Westminster party rankings, on seven percent, behind the Liberal Democrats (11 percent).    

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    Tags:
    political ambitions, Brexit, Prime Minister, leadership, election, UK general election, European Parliament, UK Independence Party (UKIP), European Union, Paul Nuttall, Nigel Farage, Westminster, Europe, Britain, United Kingdom
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