Nigel Farage dodges question on why he met Julian Assange before abruptly ending interview

'It has nothing to do with you,' former Ukip leader tells reporter

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Nigel Farage has repeatedly refused to say why he met Wikileaks founder Julian Assange before terminating a heated interview.

The former Ukip leader told Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper he visited the Ecuadorian Embassy for “journalistic reasons, not political reasons” in March.

“I will not say any more about that,” Mr Farage added. “It has nothing to do with you. It was a private meeting.”

Mr Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012 (AP)

He declined to say whether any kind of article would be published but described the meeting as “very brief” and said he talked “about a lot of things” with Mr Assange.

Leaked emails later revealed long-standing contacts between Ukip and the Australian activist, who the party has publicly supported through a sexual assault investigation in Sweden.

Mr Assange claimed asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in June 2012 - a month after the UK’s Supreme Court ruled that he should be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over the allegations.

The Europe of Freedom and Democracy group, led by Mr Farage, tabled a motion in the European Parliament attacking “the possible abuse of the European Arrest Warrant for political purposes” following a meeting between Mr Assange’s lawyer and Ukip MEP Gerard Batten.

Mr Farage has also used his LBC radio to repeat the WikiLeaks founder’s denial of Russian involvement in the Democratic National Committee email hack.

When asked whether his meeting with Mr Assange was on behalf of his ally Donald Trump, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was evasive, replying: “I don't keep [Farage's] schedule. I generally don't worry about what's going on across the pond.”

Mr Farage has faced questions over the extent of his links with the US President, as well as with Russia after describing his political admiration of Vladimir Putin.

He rejected “conspiracy theories” over Russian funding for his Brexit campaign ahead of the EU referendum but would not tell Die Zeit how much he was paid for appearances on state-run broadcaster Russia Today.

“I [go on air] twice a year, or three times last year,” he told the newspaper. “I am doing global media.”

Mr Farage later terminated the interview, which saw him call the German interviewer “mad”, “deluded” and a "nutcase" as a press officer attempted to direct questions to trade.

The MEP, who has unsuccessfully run for Parliament several times, quit as Ukip leader following the UK’s vote for Brexit and claimed the British political establishment will “always hate” him.

He has said he will not be standing in June’s snap general election, following the resignation of Ukip’s only sitting MP – Douglas Carswell.

Mr Farage said he would keep his focus on Brexit negotiations in Brussels and use his “profile in European politics” to exert pressure, while appearing as a media pundit on Fox News.