Nigel Farage claims he is 'skint' and says 'there's no money in politics'

Jamie Grierson
Nigel Farage at the European parliament in Strasbourg, where he has one of the worst voting participation records. Photograph: Jean-Francois Badias/AP

Nigel Farage, the former leader of Ukip, has bemoaned being “53, separated and skint” in an interview, adding “there’s no money in politics”.

In an interview in the Daily Mail, Farage discusses his personal life and his 24-year political career, while claiming his “contempt for career politicians knows no bounds”.

“There’s no money in politics, particularly doing it the way I’ve done it – 20 years of spending more than you earn,” he told the newspaper.

Farage has faced criticism on social media for his claims that he is “skint”, with many pointing out he lives in a £4m townhouse in Chelsea and has been taking a salary as an MEP for south-east England since 1999. He recently said he would not give up his annual pension from the EU, understood to be worth £73,000 a year.

The monthly pre-tax salary of MEPs under the single statute is €8,484.05 (£7,500) a month, according to the European parliament website, the equivalent of about £90,000 a year. Recent official statistics revealed the average weekly pay in the UK, excluding bonuses, is £478, equal to about £25,000 a year.

Farage was a founding member of Ukip in 1993 and has unsuccessfully stood for election to the House of Commons seven times – in five general elections and two byelections. He resigned three times as Ukip leader, most recently in July 2016, although did return as acting leader when his successor, Diane James, stepped down only 18 days into the role.

He has faced criticism for his poor record as an MEP, with the website Votewatch Europe ranking him as 748th out of 751 for voting participation at the European parliament.

According to the article, Farage “cares deeply about his country”, is “one of the most successful politicians of his generation” and the interviewer says his “soulfulness is unexpected”.

In September, Farage endorsed the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the run-up to the German federal elections, saying it would be a “historic achievement” if the party, described by critics as 21st-century fascists, entered the Bundestag.

He also recently provoked outrage by supporting Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate for Alabama who is facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including against teenagers. Moore, who lost the election, denies all allegations.

The Mail interview concludes with Farage stating that “2016 is not just a blip but a genuine sea change in the way people are prepared to trust what they see on the telly and are told by their so-called betters”.

He says the “establishment is fighting back as hard as it can, but Joe Public’s not shifting”, before announcing he has to catch a flight from London to Brussels.