Nigel Farage has admitted he “doesn’t listen to music, watch TV or read” as he prepared to launch Ukip’s general election campaign on Monday.
The dissolution of Parliament will mark the official start of the pre-election period, and this weekend the Ukip leader spoke at a ward meeting in the Thanet South constituency that he hopes to win on 7 May.
Mr Farage calls his party the People’s Army and has previously sought to distance himself from the Westminster elite who show an embarrassing unawareness of popular culture.
Yet in an interview with the Observer Magazine, the party leader admitted he isn’t exactly in touch with modern-day viewing habits.
“I don’t listen to music, I don’t watch television, I don’t read,” he said.
He also claimed not to have “changed at all” since becoming a politician – yet when asked if this makes him “exactly the kind of political robot he purports to despise”, he said: “No. My hobbies haven’t gone away. When I’m finished with politics, I’ll have a richer life.”
On Thursday Mr Farage will share a platform with David Cameron for the only time during the election campaign, in a seven-way live debate broadcast on ITV.
But it seems his disinterest in TV extends to this crucial national stage as well, after he told the Press Association he was spending no time preparing for it.
Speaking in a room decorated with St George flags, he said: “I'm not preparing for (the debate) to be honest - I'm busy doing what I'm doing, fighting the campaign. I will put some thought and time into this week but I am a great believer in these things not being over scripted. I think the public are bored with that.”
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.
The Ukip leader acknowledged a "difficult" couple of weeks, which has seen the party slip back in the polls, adding that he had been “stretched” fighting for a marginal seat while simultaneously leading a national campaign.
He said: “The last couple of weeks have been hard but we haven't slipped very much. To be honest with you, nobody has moved very much - that's the remarkable thing about this campaign so far is how remarkably steady the opinion polls have been.”
Mr Farage repeated his belief Ukip would win a “respectable” number of seats at May's poll. He has pledged to quit as leader if he fails to enter Parliament as the MP for Thanet South.Reuse content