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'Skint' Nigel Farage's company assets grew almost £400k last year

The Guardian logo The Guardian 13/03/2019 Ben Quinn
Nigel Farage wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: Nigel Farage laughed off suggestions he wanted to keep Britain in the EU so he could still receive his MEP’s salary. © EPA Nigel Farage laughed off suggestions he wanted to keep Britain in the EU so he could still receive his MEP’s salary.

Nigel Farage added nearly £400,000 last year to the coffers of a company that has acted as a repository for the former Ukip leader’s earnings from media appearances and the lecture circuit.

Despite claiming in 2017 that he was “skint”, filings to Companies House suggest the picture may have changed in the period since he stepped down as leader.

Thorn in the Side Ltd, of which Farage is the sole director, had assets of £548,573 for the year to May 2018 – a substantial jump from assets of just over £157,000 recorded for the previous year.

The disclosure comes as Farage was chided on Wednesday by the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, while the parliament debated the current Brexit turmoil.

Related: May: Back me or lose Brexit

Verhofstadt claimed Farage wanted an extension to article 50 in order to keep Britain in the EU, so he can continue to have his MEP’s salary and transfer it into an offshore company.

Watch: Farage on Brexit: There is a lot more drama to come (Fox)


Farage laughed and nodded as the former Belgian prime minister made the claims about his pay and accused Farage of wanting to stay in the EU to continue a project of “destroying it from within”.

The former Ukip leader later told the Guardian: “Mr Verhofstadt is just plain wrong. I have never been the beneficiary of any offshore company.”

Related: Nigel Farage's new Brexit party has '£1m of funds and 200 candidates on standby'

© Getty

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As well as having had a show on LBC radio, Farage has been a regular political commentator on international television channels since stepping down as Ukip leader in 2016. He was hired the following year as a commentator for the US television network Fox News.

Farage, who has criticised others for avoiding tax, has come under fire in the past for using Thorn in the Side Ltd to reduce the tax bill on his media appearances.

The MEP has previously admitted setting up a trust fund in an offshore tax haven that could have enabled him to cut his tax bill. Farage, who condemned tax avoiders in a speech to the European parliament, said in 2013 that he paid a tax adviser to set up the Farage Family Educational Trust 1654 in the Isle of Man. He has previously denied benefiting from the arrangement and said he made a loss.

Farage complained in 2017 that he was “53, separated and skint” in an interview with the Daily Mail, adding: “There’s no money in politics.”

Verhofstadt told MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday that he was “against every extension, whether an extension of one day, one week, even 24 hours” to article 50.

Farage said “I don’t want me coming back here” and called for the EU to reject an extension and make sure the UK leaves on time.

He claimed the “only neat solution” was to leave the EU on 29 March, calling for any extension request from Britain to be vetoed.

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British MEPs have been given details of transition payments that could see the longest serving eligible for six-figure sums, as well as instructions on clearing their offices before Brexit day.

All MEPs are entitled to a transition allowance linked to their length of service in the parliament to bridge their move into a new job. MEPs who have served one term could get a maximum pre-tax payment of €50,900 (£43,575), while an MEP in office since 1999 could receive €169,680 before tax.


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