Who is Reform leader Nigel Farage?

Nigel Farage
  • Published

Nigel Farage: The basics

Age: 60

Education: Dulwich College, did not attend university

Family: Twice divorced. Four children.

Parliamentary career: Former member of the European Parliament. He has stood for the UK Parliament seven times without success, and is now making an eighth attempt.

Who is he?

For nearly three decades, Nigel Farage has been the face of Euroscepticism in the UK. He campaigned for Brexit as leader of UKIP and then went on to lead the Brexit Party and now Reform UK.

He has moved between politics and media roles and between political parties during his career.

The son of a stockbroker, he was born in Kent and attended private school Dulwich College, in South London. Fellow pupils would later remember a student keen on provoking students and teachers with controversial statements.

At 18, he decided not to go to university, becoming a trader on the London Metal Exchange in 1982.

What was his route in to politics?

Mr Farage quit the Conservative party after the UK signed the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, which called for an "ever-closer union" among European nations.

He was a founding member of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), then a tiny fringe group and first ran unsuccessfully for parliament in 1994 in the Eastleigh by-election.

He was elected to the European Parliament, as MEP for South-East England, in 1999 and stayed there until 2020.

After becoming leader of UKIP for the first time in 2006, he became a familiar face on TV and achieved a breakthrough at the 2009 European elections, where UKIP got more votes than Labour and the Lib Dems.

He played a leading role in the 2016 Brexit referendum. After the vote in favour of the UK leaving the EU, he resigned from UKIP.

In the period after the UK voted to leave the EU, but before it left, he launched the Brexit Party in April 2019.

After Brexit, his party changed its name to Reform UK. Mr Farage left front-line politics in 2021 and embarked on a television career as a presenter on newly established GB News.

He took part in reality TV series I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! in 2023 and was in the news when his bank account at Coutts was closed.

Mr Farage had spent most of the lead up to the 2024 UK general election campaign insisting he would not stand for the House of Commons.

But on 3 June, he said he will be Reform UK's candidate in Clacton and take over as the party's leader once again.

What are his key pledges?

Some of the policy pledges Reform UK has made so far include:

  • Immigration: Freezing non-essential immigration; reaching "Net Zero Immigration"; the immediate deportation for foreign criminals; stopping small boat crossings

  • Foreign Affairs: Scrap the Windsor Framework on movement of goods; leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR); cut foreign aid by 50%

  • Tax and economy: Raise the minimum threshold for business tax to £100,000; raising income tax threshold to £20,000; removing inheritance tax on estates worth under £2m; scrapping “unnecessary regulations” and simplify the tax system

  • Crime and justice: Boost police numbers; ending “woke” policing; build 10,000 new prison places

But this is liable to change. Less than a day after taking charge of Reform UK once more, Mr Farage appeared to ditch Reform’s policy to move asylum seekers to British overseas territories.

He said the idea was not “terribly practical,” adding: “I took over yesterday, give me more than 12 hours and I’ll sort a few things out.”

BBC News will have a profile on each of the major party leaders running in the 2024 UK general election.