Nigel Farage has hinted he will back far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen in next year’s French presidential election.
The interim Ukip leader described Ms le Pen as “brilliant” and suggested a victory for would mean “it’s over” for the European Union.
In the past, Mr Farage has distanced himself from the National Front's "prejudice and anti-Semitism" - despite Ms le Pen insisting there is not a "hair's breadth" between it and Ukip.
But, in an interview with The Sunday Express, he said he was “on the fence" over whether her victory would be a price worth paying to bring down the EU altogether.
Mr Farage said: “I know her. She's very determined, brilliant on TV. I mean absolutely brilliant.
“When you watch her making her argument and you can see her getting into it she is really good at it. There's lots of baggage and that's the problem.”
In the first round of the Presidential election, next April, Mr Farage will back Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, of the France Arise party – an “utterly respectable Eurosceptic”.
The final round, in May, is expected to be a contest between Ms le Pen and Francois Fillon, the strong favourite to emerge as the centre-right candidate after today’s run-off.
Mr Fillon is expected to beat Alain Juppe to be the Republicans candidate – after beating him by 44.1 per cent to 28.5 per cent a week ago.
On backing the National Front at that point, Mr Farage said: “It depends what the circumstances are - you'll have to ask me in April.
“I have never said a bad word about her, but I have never said a good word about her party and that's where I am with this - it's slightly awkward.”
The comments came in an interview in which Mr Farage claimed he cannot leave his house without security after the Brexit vote and Donald Trump's US presidential election victory.
He said he has received death threats and was confronted with a glass during a night out last week.
Mr Farage said: “I've got no life - I can't do anything, I can't go anywhere.
“Certainly I would not go out in London of an evening on my own without security - couldn't even think about it.
“I can't even walk down the street without it. I have to go to private places, private venues. The thought of doing a Friday night pub crawl around Westminster - I just can't do it anymore."
Mr Farage announced his retirement the day after Britain voted to leave the EU in June, but returned temporarily after his party imploded.
He then embarrassed Theresa May by stealing a march on her to become the first British politician to meet Mr Trump since his victory.
The President-elect tweeted he would “do a great job” as British ambassador to the US - prompting anger from Downing Street, which said there was "no vacancy".Reuse content