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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 September 2018

Nigel Farage considers running for London mayor

Former leader of UKIP has been highly critical of incumbent Sadiq Khan 

Nigel Farage was one of the leading supporters to Brexit (AP)
Nigel Farage was one of the leading supporters to Brexit (AP)

The former leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage is considering running for London’s mayor in 2020 when the next election takes place.

Rarely out of the spotlight and a leader in Britain’s push to leave the European Union, eurosceptic Mr Farage will lose his role as a European parliament member when Brexit takes place next March.

“I have been encouraged to [stand] by a group of people, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to,” Mr Farage told the Financial Times.

“I haven’t said no to it, I’m thinking about it.” “The (ruling) Tory party are very actively aware that if I did stand, they would probably come third, and they are afraid of that,” he added.

Mr Farage said it would allow him to “make arguments” on a high-profile platform and argued he had widespread support. "The Tory party are very actively aware that if I did stand, they would probably come third, and they are afraid of that,” he claimed.

A senior Conservative Party official told the Financial Times it was also ready for an electoral embarrassment f Mr Farage were to enter the race and win. He has been elected three times as a member of the European Parliament but has stood unsuccessfully for the UK House of Commons seven times.

“The three Tory candidates are so poor . . . no one expects any of them to win, if you have televised hustings it would just come down to Nigel versus Sadiq,” an ally of Mr Farage added.

In September, the Conservatives will decide on a challenger to Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan who was elected two years ago. The candidates are reasonably unknown; London Assembly members Shain Bailey and Andrew Boff and Ealing Councillor Joy Morrissey.

Mr Farage has previously criticised Mr Khan for failing to clamp down on crime and spending more time criticising US president Donald Trump.

“I’d never thought I’d see the day where the murder rate in London would overtake that of New York,” Mr Farage said.

Meanwhile, campaigners have raised nearly £60,000 (Dh286,713) to fly a bikini-clad balloon of Mr Khan over London. The anti-Khan idea was launched as a protest against a baby balloon of Mr Trump when the US president visited the UK in July.

The 29-foot balloon will fly over parliament square on 1st September. Mr Khan said: "If people want to spend their Saturday looking at me in a yellow bikini they're welcome to do so. I don't really think yellow's my colour though."

The fundraising page for the balloon said: "In light of the Donald Trump 'Baby Trump' balloon being allowed to fly over London during his visit to the UK, let's get a 'baby Khan' one and see if free speech applies to all."

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It adds: "Under Sadiq Khan, we have seen crime skyrocket to unprecedented levels. People in London don't feel safe and they aren't safe.

In July, Conservative MP Michael Fabricant was forced to apologise after tweeting an image of Sadiq Khan attached to an inflatable pig.

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