Former UKIP and Brexit party leader Nigel Farage has again refused to rule out another attempt to become an MP, promising Sky News that if he did do so it would be on a far more “revolutionary agenda than just Brexit”.
It comes as official data published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed net migration of 606,000 for last year, nearly three times the pre-Brexit average of between 200,000 and 250,000.
Mr Farage said the Conservatives of ignoring the “will of the people” on immigration, accusing consecutive prime ministers of failing to crackdown on the number of people coming to the UK post-Brexit
The former UKIP leader even claimed net migration could have been limited to 50,000 a year if the Conservatives had taken the right approach after the UK left the EU.
When it was raised that before the EU referendum he had suggested net migration could be brought down to 50,000, Mr Farage said: “Yes, of course. Of course we can. We could have got it down to 50,000. If they put me in charge of it we would have got to 50,000 a year, no question about it, but they didn’t.
“The problem we have got now is… I said 10 years ago, I wanted to cause an earthquake in British politics. Well, we got the earthquake, we are still suffering the aftershocks of it, we are suffering the aftershocks… because Parliament and the Government have ignored the will of the people.
“They have ignored what was said in that Brexit referendum and so now a bigger question emerges as to how we are going to change politics in this country.”
Prime minister Rishi Sunak said yesterday that the numbers were “just too high” and he remained committed to bringing them down. He denied that net migration was out of control.
Mr Farage also hinted that he may be considering running for parliament again — having never successfully contested a Westminster seat. He said a change to the electoral system would make a run more likely
The former Brexit party leader predicted “another insurgency” in UK politics — “whether it’ll be Reform, whether it’ll be me, whether we get a new Nick Griffin [the former leader of the far-right British National Party (BNP)]”.
Mr Farage is the honorary president of Reform UK, the renamed Brexit party which is currently led by Richard Tice.
He continued: “I think if I stood again, it would be a much more revolutionary agenda than just Brexit”.
Mr Farage has stood for parliament on seven occasions. He has never won, but did gradually improve his share of the vote at each contest:
- Eastleigh, by-election 1994: finished 4th; 1.7% of the vote – Lost deposit (£500)
- Salisbury, general election 1997: finished 4th; 5.7% of the vote – Regained deposit
- Bexhill and Battle, general election 2001: finished 4th; 7.8% of the vote – Regained deposit
- South Thanet, general election 2005: finished 4th; 5.0% of the vote – Regained deposit (just)
- Bromley and Chislehurst, by-election 2006: finished 3rd; 8.1% of the vote – Regained deposit
- Buckingham, by-election 2010: finished 3rd; 17.4% of the vote – Regained deposit
- South Thanet, general election 2015: finished 2nd; 32.4% of the vote – Regained deposit
It comes as Nigel Farage admitted the UK had not benefited economically from leaving the EU in an interview with the BBC last week.
“What Brexit has proved, I’m afraid, is that our politicians are about as useless as the commissioners in Brussels. We’ve mismanaged this totally,” Farage said, responding to a raft of data suggesting there had been a negative economic impact of Brexit.