Farage plans European tour to stoke up EU independence movements

Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) © Neil Hall
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is planning a tour of European countries in an attempt to encourage more independence referendums and has said he will to return to politics if Brexit does not happen by 2020.

Speaking at a lunch on the fringes of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Farage said he would tour Europe this autumn.

He is expected to travel to Athens in September to help run a symposium about alternatives to membership of the euro.

Speaking to Politico, he said: “One of the joys of not continuing as party leader is having more time, so I will be traveling around Europe helping other independence movements, but I won’t be telling them how to vote.

“We should be celebrating a diverse Europe of independent nation states, and if I can do anything to help that, then I will.

Growing anti-EU sentiment has been seen in Austria, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, France and Italy in recent months.

Farage says if the fallout from Brexit continues, Ireland could be the next country to vote to leave the EU.

“I think there’s a well of Euroskeptic thinking in Ireland that is quite deep.

“I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if Ireland had its own referendum on leaving the EU.”

Farage said if Britain is still a member of the EU by 2020, he may get back into politics.

“If this was not to happen, I would find it irresistible to put my shoulder to the wheel again.

“By the 2020 election, if we haven’t got back our territorial fishing waters, haven’t got immigration numbers down, then you ain’t seen nothing yet in terms of disruption to British politics.”

Speaking at the convention, Farage drew parallels between Brexit and the rise of US presidential nominee Donald Trump, according to the Financial Times.

“Brussels doesn’t get it, London doesn’t get it, and I guess for these people, Washington doesn’t get it,” he said.

He refused to directly endorse Trump but praised his focus on targeting voters concerned with high migration levels.

“They’ve had enough of being patronized, of being ignored. They want someone to listen to them. It’s irrelevant that he’s rich.

“They want to feel someone gets it. If you can engage those people and inspire those people, it’s the little people that can change the world.”

He added that voters in the UK “had felt so unrepresented they stopped voting” and “in the Brexit referendum lots of those little people thought to themselves, ‘this is one time our vote can count.’”

“It’s a victory for the little people,” he said.

Farage first stepped down as leader of UKIP in 2015 following the general election, but remained in the job when the party rejected his resignation a week later.

He announced his decision to quit as leader after the historic Brexit vote last month.