UK

Nigel Farage 'frightened' to go outside as UKIP is 'demonised'

Nigel Farage Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The former UKIP leader claims he lives as a "virtual prisoner"

Nigel Farage has said he is "frightened of walking out into the street" because of the way UKIP has been presented by the British press.

The former party leader told ITV's Piers Morgan's Life Stories that the media has for years "attempted to demonise me and give me a bad name".

He also refused to rule out a return to politics, saying "anything can happen".

Mr Farage recently dodged an egg while campaigning in Stoke Central, where UKIP placed second in a by-election.

In his interview with Morgan, Mr Farage said that he lives as a "virtual prisoner" because the press has "picked out" more controversial UKIP members in an attempt to discredit the party.

"It is because of these irrelevant people, who held no position, they happened to join an organisation," he said.

'Bongo Bongo Land'

He said UKIP's aims were "common-sense policies" in which people would "struggle to find anything" racist.

Mr Farage said it was "wrong" when in 2013 a former UKIP politician referred to countries receiving government aid as "Bongo Bongo Land".

Ex-MEP Godfrey Bloom, who was recorded using the phrase, later said he regretted the comments.

But Mr Farage added: "Was he right about us sending foreign aid to corrupt regimes all over the world when we could spend it better at home? Of course he was right."

He added: "Will I ever forgive the British media for what they've done to me? No."

Earlier this month, the former UKIP leader and his successor Paul Nuttall narrowly avoided an egg, which was said to have been thrown by a youth.

'Falls to bits'

Mr Farage, who has been hired by Fox News as a political analyst since stepping down as UKIP leader after the EU referendum in 2016, hinted at a possible political comeback in the UK.

When asked about Brexit he said: "If this falls to bits, anything could happen, let's see."

He also refused to rule out a bid to become prime minister, adding: "If this political class let us down on Brexit, then anything can happen."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The former UKIP leader was in Stoke-on-Trent with his successor Paul Nuttall

Mr Farage, whose wife Kirsten recently said she and her husband had been living "separate lives for some years", also reiterated his hopes for a "normal" life.

He told Morgan: "One of my hopes is that life will start getting a little bit more normal going on from here. I hope it can't be as bad as it's been, can it?"

He said his marriage was "a bit like most others really - all marriages, all relationships have huge ups and downs".

Mr Farage told reporters he "wants his life back" when he stood down as UKIP leader last July following the Brexit vote.

Piers Morgan's Life Stories will be broadcast on ITV at 21:00 GMT on Friday (24 February).

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