Nigel Farage: I'm not rich

Emma Woollacott
Farage smashes champagne glass
Farage smashes champagne glass

Nigel Farage has described himself as "the poorest man in politics" - despite the fact that he earns three times the average salary and claims tens of thousands in expenses every year.

Talking to Gogglebox's "posh couple" Steph and Dom Parker in a forthcoming spin-off show, he complains, "I don't think I know anybody in politics as poor as we are".

"We don't drive flash cars, we don't have expensive holidays, we haven't done for ten years."

As an MEP, Farage earns £79,000, with office allowances of around £42,600 a year. His house is worth around £540,000, and he has his own chauffeur, paid for with a £60,000 allowance from Ukip funds.

He gets a subsistence allowance of £250 a day every time he attends the European Parliament, and earns as much as £50,000 a year from media appearances and speeches. Meanwhile, tax-payers are paying his wife around £20,000 a year to work as his assistant.

He once claimed that he would need to earn £250,000 a year to match what he gets from the EU.

Perks of the job?

Earlier this year, he was fined £200 by the Electoral Commission for claiming £15,500 a year from the EU to pay for his constituency office, despite the fact it was given to him rent free. He claimed that the money was his to spend as he saw fit.

Farage appears in the one-off show, Steph and Dom Meet Nigel Farage, on Channel 4 on Monday December 15 at 10pm. During the show, he's seen dowening several pints of beer in the pub, followed by half a dozen glasses of wine and champagne.

"I like a drink but, crikey, these guys are professionals," he tells the Radio Times.

He stumbles and smashes a glass of champagne, after which he borrows a pair of jeans from his host; but blames the accident on the after-effects of the plane crash he was involved in in 2010.

Farage's efforts to present himself as a man of the people have worked well in the past. Last spring, a poll carried out for Buzzfeed by YouGov revealed that only 36% of voters were aware that he was educated at public school. By contrast, the vast majority of people believed that Labour leader Ed Miliband went to public school - only 13% were aware that he was educated at a comprehensive.

"Was I taking a risk going in there? Yes, I was... Politics today is so thoroughly overscripted," he says. "All the rough edges and all the risk is knocked off, and that is why it has become desperately dull. I thought they were genuine and... people who like me will like it."

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