I'm a Celebrity: who is Nigel Farage? Did politician cause Brexit - Grace Dent comments explained

Nigel Farage was quizzed about Brexit as soon as he entered I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

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Nigel Farage has entered the jungle on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here - and was immediately confronted by a room full of snakes.

Not that different to politics some may say, and Farage appeared calm in the serpent-infested house - however ITV's viewing figures have already taken a battering, plummeting by more than two million compared with last year's launch show.

In tonight's episode, the former Ukip and Brexit Party leader will face a bushtucker trial following a public vote. He will be joined by YouTuber Nella Rose during the first eating trial, which has been dubbed the Jungle Pizzeria.

When Farage first entered the jungle, he met This Morning host Josie Gibson who immediately made a joke about Brexit. Explaining entering the reality competition, Farage said: “It’s not (going to) be easy, but why not?” Gibson, 38, replied saying: “Can’t be worse than Brexit!” Farage said it “didn’t take long”, before adding: “I had a feeling we’d get a bit of that.”

What was Nigel Farage's role in Brexit, and what did fellow contestant Grace Dent tweet about him? Here's everything you need to know.

Nigel Farage. Credit: ITVNigel Farage. Credit: ITV
Nigel Farage. Credit: ITV

Who is Nigel Farage?

Farage is a former politician, representing South East England in the European Parliament from 1999 to 2016. He led the UK Independence Party (Ukip) from 2006 until 2009, and again from 2010 to 2016. Farage led Ukip in the 2009 European elections, achieving the second-highest share of the UK popular vote, beaten only by the Conservatives.

In 2009, he briefly stepped away from leading the party so he could contest then Speaker of the House John Bercow’s seat. He came third in the 2010 General Election for the Buckingham seat. Overall Farage contested seven Westminster elections, but was never elected as an MP.

Nigel Farage. Credit: SCOTT HEPPELL/AFP via Getty ImagesNigel Farage. Credit: SCOTT HEPPELL/AFP via Getty Images
Nigel Farage. Credit: SCOTT HEPPELL/AFP via Getty Images

Upon stepping down as Ukip leader in 2016, he remained an MEP and member of the party. In 2018, he left the party and launched the Brexit party. He remained with the party until 2021. Aside from British politics, he also commentated on the US presidential campaign for Fox News in 2020, a channel which widely supported Republican candidate Donald Trump.

He is widely thought to have right-wing views with regards to immigration, environment and gun control. He has made remarks such as supporting Muslim immigrants who integrate to British society, but is against those who are "coming here to take us over". He also controversially claimed Brexit had been won "without a single bullet being fired" just over a week after the murder of MP Jo Cox by a right-wing extremist.

What happened with Nigel Farage and Brexit?

Farage is seen as the Godfather of Brexit. He left the Conservative Party in 1992 after the Maastricht Treaty, which set in place more EU integration, and set up Ukip - the original anti-EU party. He was a vocal critic of the Euro, and one of the most prominent Eurosceptic voices in the UK.

In 2009, Ukip won the second highest vote share at the European elections, and in 2014 the party won the most seats - heaping pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to call a referendum. Farage helped create the narrative the immigration was to blame for Britain's woes, after the 2008 banking crisis while Cameron was pushing the UK through austerity.

In 2015, Cameron promised a referendum if the Conservatives won the general election - and the party won an outright majority against the odds. While Farage was side-lined by the official leave campaign - Vote Leave - he still played a prominent role in the referendum campaign, infamously posing next to a photo of Syrian refugees with the caption 'Breaking Point'. Despite Farage running a parallel campaign alongside Vote Leave, it's still unlikely the referendum would have ever been called without him.

Everything you need to know about Grace Dent (ITV)Everything you need to know about Grace Dent (ITV)
Everything you need to know about Grace Dent (ITV)

What did Grace Dent say about Nigel Farage?

Farage has history with fellow contestant, Guardian restaurant reviewer Grace Dent. In 2010, Farage was left with minor head injuries, a punctured lung and several fractured ribs after he was involved in an aeroplane crash. The aircraft was pulling an election banner for the UKIP party which became tangled in the tailfin. He was trapped upside down by his seatbelt, after the aircraft nosedived into the ground.

He suffered a punctured lung, several fractured ribs, a fractured sternum and two chipped vertebrae. As a result, Farage won't be able to do any of the challenges which are too physically exerting.

He told the Mirror: "Anything involving weightlifting, I’d be out. I’ve obviously had some quite serious physical injuries and neck reconstructions, and goodness knows what else. So they are fully aware that I’m a little bit damaged when it comes to bodily structure. But having said that, I can still do most things."

After the crash, Dent tweeted: "I hope none of the people who saved Nigel Farage's life today were pesky immigrants." She also wrote: "UKIP claim Nigel Farage crash brought about by nonsensical European laws of gravity."

A source close to Farage told LBC: "The truth is that he very nearly died in that crash. He is lucky to be alive. Any joke about the plane crash is crass and poor taste."

Ralph Blackburn is NationalWorld’s politics editor based in Westminster, where he gets special access to Parliament, MPs and government briefings. If you liked this article you can follow Ralph on X (Twitter) here and sign up to his free weekly newsletter Politics Uncovered, which brings you the latest analysis and gossip from Westminster every Sunday morning.

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