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‘He was a deeply unembarrassed racist’: Nigel Farage, by those who have known him ‘He was a deeply unembarrassed racist’: Nigel Farage, by those who have known him

Some say the Reform UK leader is kind and entertaining, but it is striking how many enemies he has made, even among those close to him politically

‘He was a deeply unembarrassed racist’: Nigel Farage, by those who have known him

At the point Nigel Farage announced his intention to stand for parliament “my heart sank”, admitted Trixy Sanderson, 42, formerly known as Annabelle Fuller. “It’s very triggering,” said Farage’s former lover and press aide.

The overriding emotion of Doug Denny, 76, a former member of Ukip’s ruling body, was frustration. “I don’t like frauds,” he said, with a shake of the head. As for Nikki Sinclaire, 55, one of Farage’s former MEPs, she said she felt cold anger.

It was inexplicable to her that this particular political bandwagon was still rolling on. “I get very frustrated because the media have had the tools for many years to down Farage.”

That collective sense of foreboding deepened on Thursday night as Farage’s Reform UK party summoned up Rishi Sunak’s worst nightmare, nudging ahead of the Conservatives in a YouGov poll for the first time, with its support reaching 19% to the Tories 18%, while Labour powered on at 37%.


It is, however, striking, and possibly instructive, how very many enemies, often of his own political hue, Farage has accumulated since he swapped being a trader on the London metal exchange for politics more than 30 years ago.

The reasons given for the often deeply felt dislike – mainly varieties of the claim that he is a power-hungry narcissist – also potentially offer an insight into his intentions for Reform, described as an “entrepreneurial political start-up” in which Farage is the company’s director and majority shareholder.


Chloe Deakin, an English teacher at Dulwich college, wrote in 1981: “You will recall that at the recent, and lengthy, meeting about the selection of prefects, the remark by a colleague that Farage was ‘a fascist but that was no reason why he would not make a good prefect’ invoked considerable reaction from members of the common room.

“Another colleague, who teaches the boy, described his publicly professed racist and neo-fascist views, and he cited a particular incident in which Farage was so offensive to a boy in his set, that he had to be removed from the lesson.”

In Michael Crick’s biography of Farage, One Party After Another, those who shared a classroom with Farage at the private school in south-east London expressed the full range of views on him.

One Jewish pupil claimed Farage would sidle up to him and say: “Hitler was right,” or “Gas ’em.” Another claimed Farage had a preoccupation with his initials, NF, as they were the same as those of the National Front.


In his autobiography, Fighting Bull, Farage admitted some people were alarmed by his admiration for Enoch Powell, and when confronted in 2013 by Crick he admitted saying “ridiculous things” but “not necessarily racist things”.

What was undeniable, he conceded, was that he was a “difficult bolshie teenager who pushed the boundaries of debate further than perhaps I ought to have done”.

It could be argued that Farage never really grew up.