Nigel Paul Farage is a British politician and leader of the UK Independence Party since 2010; he also held that position from September 2006 to November 2009. Since 1999, he has been a Member of the European Parliament for South East England and co-chairs the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group.
Farage was a founding member of
UKIP, having left the Conservative Party in 1992 after the signing of
the Maastricht Treaty. Having unsuccessfully campaigned in European and
Westminster parliamentary elections for UKIP since 1994, he won a seat
as MEP for South East England in the 1999 European Parliament Election
-- the first year the regional list system was used -- and was
re-elected in 2004 and 2009. Farage describes himself as a libertarian.
September 2006, Farage became the UKIP Leader and led the party through
the 2009 European Parliament Election when it received the second
highest share of the popular vote, defeating Labour and the Liberal
Democrats with over two million votes. He stepped down in November 2009
to concentrate on contesting the Buckingham seat of the Speaker, John
Bercow, at the 2010 general election.
At the 2010 General
Election, Farage failed to unseat Bercow and received only the third
highest share of the vote in the constituency. Shortly after the polls
opened on 6 May 2010, Farage was injured in an aircraft crash in
Northamptonshire. The two-seated PZL-104 Wilga 35A had been towing a
pro-UKIP banner when it flipped over and crashed shortly after takeoff.
Both Farage and the pilot were hospitalised with non-life threatening
In November 2010, Farage successfully stood in the 2010
UKIP leadership contest, following the resignation of its leader, Lord
Pearson of Rannoch. Farage was also ranked 41st in The Daily Telegraph's
Top 100 most influential right-wingers poll in October 2009, citing his
media savvy and his success with UKIP in the European Elections. Farage
was ranked 58th in the 2010 list compiled by Iain Dale and Brian
Brivati for The Daily Telegraph. In the same list published in 2012,
Farage was ranked 17th.
Farage has been noted for his passionate and sometimes controversial speeches in the European Parliament.
was born in Herne, Kent, on 3 April 1964, to Guy Justus Oscar Farage
and Barbara Stevens. His father was a stockbroker in the City who left
the family home when Nigel was five years old. Farage was educated at
Dulwich College. In 1982 he joined the London commodity brokerage firm
Drexel Burnham Lambert. In 1986, he joined Credit Lyonnais Rouse. He
joined Refco in 1994, and Natexis Metals in 2003.
In his early
20s, Farage was diagnosed with testicular cancer but made a full
recovery. Farage has been described as a "chain smoker".
has been married twice. He married Grace Hayes in 1988, by whom he has
two children: Samuel (1989) and Thomas (1991). The marriage was
dissolved in 1997. In 1999 he married Kirsten Mehr, a German national,
and they have two children, Victoria (born 2000) and Isabelle (born
Farage has published a book of memoirs, entitled Fighting
Bull (Flying Free in paperback), outlining the founding of UKIP and his
personal and political life so far.
in the Conservative Party from his school days, Farage left the party
in 1992 when John Major's Government signed the Treaty on European Union
UKIP and the European Parliament
was a founding member of UKIP in 1993. He was elected to the European
Parliament in 1999 and re-elected in 2004 and 2009. Farage is presently
the leader of the thirteen-member UKIP contingent in the European
Parliament, and co-leader of the multinational Eurosceptic group, Europe
of Freedom and Democracy.
UKIP party leadership
September 2006, Farage was elected leader of UKIP with 45% of the vote,
20% ahead of his nearest rival. He pledged to bring discipline to the
party and to maximise UKIP's representation in local, parliamenta
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