While Nigel Farage may still cut something of a divisive figure in the UK, the Ukip leader has developed an increasingly powerful level of backing across the pond in the US.
Mr Farage has been invited to speak at the Republican party’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which brings together a mixture of the GOP’s mainstream and more right wing elements.
Sharing a stage with the former US vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin as well as the potential Republican candidate for the main job Jeb Bush, you could be forgiven for thinking the leader of a minor British party would be lost in the crowd. But Mr Farage has instead been given a star welcome – as is evidenced by the promotional flyer for his talk presented by Breitbart News.
Striking a confident pose with a cigar, Ukip’s chief stares at the camera under a title that reads “The British Are Coming”.
An evident success story for the right in Britain, Mr Farage has it seems been seized upon by the Republican powers that be. Publicists for the Washington DC event have described him as a “political tour de force” who has “emerged as a serious and viable candidate who can run England in the near future”.
So what does Mr Farage think of his hosts? Well, it seems he isn’t quite as grateful as might be presumed. Speaking to Breitbart in the US earlier this month, he said: “I have no idea what the Republican Party stands for.
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.
“I meet lots of individuals within it who want it to say one thing or another, but collectively it’s pretty blurry, it’s pretty unclear. If I was living over here, I would say to myself alright number one we’ve got to reclaim our party–we’ve got to take it away from being safe and establishment, because that way you’re never going to win because the Democrats have certain built-in advantages. If you are unable to reclaim your party, you might have to do a UKIP.”
It certainly makes for a self-assured display – and while Mr Farage isn’t realistically in the running to “run England” come May, it may not do his chances any harm to look like he has the US right on his side.Reuse content