The only thing Nigel Farage knew about Joey Essex was… Precisely nothing.
“I haven’t a clue,” the Ukip leader told reporters when asked if he knew who The Only Way Is Essex star actually was.
Their meeting got off to a stilted start.
“What’s a vagazzle?”
“I have no idea,” Farage replied.
Asked if getting a Joey Essex tan would make up part of his pre-election grooming regime, Farage said, “it’s one of the things I haven’t got round to yet”, before adding: “A couple of hours out here and I won’t need one.”
And no, he’d never seen the show. He doesn’t tend to watch TV.
But it turns out the pair have something slippery in common – a secret love of fish.
Before Essex became the rent-a-dumb docu-soap character who wore a watch on his ankle, he worked at Billingsgate fish market.
Farage, on the other hand, is a keen fisherman who unwinds with solitary angling trips to the Kent coast. When he’s not making inflammatory statements about immigrants with HIV clogging up the NHS, he even finds time to write a column for a fishing magazine.
“One thing I can fit in to my working life is shore fishing because I can do it at night,” Farage said.
“I might have had a busy day in London, but I might nip down to the coast and have three or four hours through to the early hours of the morning fishing.”
Farage is one of four party leaders to be interviewed for the first episode of ITV2 mini-series Educating Joey Essex.
The first saw Essex grill Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, a man he labelled "sick".
Ukip's confusing policies
Ukip's confusing policies
1/6 Deport migrants
Ukip MP Mark Reckless suggested he would deport existing EU migrants, a policy Nigel Farage rejected out of hand.
2/6 US-style NHS
Farage was caught on film in 2012 saying healthcare headed towards insurance-based system, though he has since said he would keep it free at the point of use.
3/6 Handbag tax
Ukip Economy spokesman Patrick O'Flynn said he would introduce a tax on high-price items like shoes, Nigel Farage disowned this idea.
4/6 Same-sex couple adoption
Ukip candidate Winston McKenzie likened adoption by same-sex couples to "child abuse", but the party rejects that view.
5/6 Gay marriage?
In early 2014 Ukip released a statement saying it would review its gay marriage policy, but later said that was an error.
6/6 Sex education u-turn
Nigel Farage told Leaders Live that he backed sex education for under-11s but later admitted that is not Ukip policy.
Farage's chosen location for the interview, Grimsby, has a political motivation. Great Grimsby is a key target for Ukip. Tory defector Victoria Ayling stands a good chance of winning the party’s first northern seat if she defeats Labour MP Austin Mitchell, who is standing down with a vote majority of just 714.
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