Nigel Farage vows to replace Tories – before having milkshake thrown on him

Nigel Farage declared that he wanted to replace the Tories as he began his eighth bid to win a parliamentary seat – but the divisive right–winger was left covered in milkshake after a drink was thrown over him as he tried to greet crowds in Clacton.

Reform UK’s new leader had been appearing in front of hundreds on the Essex town’s pier after dramatically announcing on Tuesday that he would be running for the seat after previously saying he would not stand in the general election.

The former Brexit Party and Ukip leader was left shocked as a young woman threw a drink in his face as he was leaving a nearby pub. A 25-year-old was arrested on suspicion of assault, while a man was detained on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker.

There was also a protest at the back of the crowd as he delivered his speech with demonstrators holding a sign saying he was not welcome.

Young woman throws milkshake at Farage (AFP/Getty)
Young woman throws milkshake at Farage (AFP/Getty)

Before the milkshake attack, Mr Farage had been confidently predicting victory in a constituency which was once held by Ukip MP Douglas Carswell and voted 73 per cent for Brexit in 2016. It is currently a Tory seat, with a majority of 24,702.

Speaking to journalists in the Moon and Starfish Wetherspoons pub, Mr Farage made it clear that Clacton was the first step in his plan to replace the Conservative Party.

He said: “It’s over, it’s done, let’s all grow up, there is no election, Labour are going to win. The positive thing that I’m trying to do is to provide a voice of opposition to a Labour government.

“We need a proper voice, an opposition voice that represents the silent majority, for common sense. It’s still there in the country and I’m absolutely convinced the current Conservative Party who spent four years fighting among themselves, rather than getting on and running the country, in opposition – imagine their recriminations in opposition.”


Asked about his aims for the next five years, he likened the situation to Canada in 1993 when the Canadian Conservative Party, in power at the time, called an election and only won two seats. They eventually were replaced by the then-resurgent party. He added: “What I do know is without a strong Reform, without millions of votes, without some seats in parliament, it won’t happen.”

Before Mr Farage’s dramatic announcement, Reform UK had been predicted to not pick up any seats on 4 July. But his decision to run has caused a headache for Rishi Sunak – and gives the prime minister a greater challenge on immigration. YouGov’s director of political analytics, Patrick English, told The Independent that the announcement “significantly increases the odds” that Reform could win at least one seat – and even as many as four.

Mr Farage was accompanied by Richard Tice, who was party leader until yesterday and is running in Boston and Skegness.

Mr Tice told The Independent: “People are going to be surprised. We are going to overturn some huge majorities of 20,000 and more.”

There had been tensions at the top of Reform. Mr Farage was forced to defend his predecessor, despite ditching one of his policies on migration live on air this morning when pressed on asking overseas territories to take asylum seekers for money.

He said: “Richard has done a very good job. He has kept the show on the road. The policies are mostly there but there will be tweaks, a Farage twist if you like.”

The Reform leader insisted that he expects his party to field the 630 candidates in England, Wales and Scotland previously promised and said there would be no deals with any Tory MPs.

Asked if he expected any more Tory MPs to follow Lee Anderson and defect to his party, he said: “I am not very interested in Tory MPs. They had their chance and failed.”

Mr Farage also accused the Tories of lying about Brexit and immigration, noting that they had promised to bring net migration down in the last four manifestos but failed every time.

He said he did not believe Mr Sunak’s pledge on Tuesday night to set a visa cap on new legal migrants and described this election as “the immigration election”, insisting that he would make that his top issue.

Mr Farage was also hit by a milkshake on the campaign trail in Newcastle in 2019, when he was campaigning for the Brexit Party ahead of European elections. On Wednesday he later posed with a tray of milkshakes as he tried to make light of the situation.

Meanwhile, in a sign that the Conservatives may put up a fight, Tory MP for Clacton Giles Watling was hanging outside the Wetherspoons pub while Mr Farage held court inside.

A spokesperson for Mr Watling said: “Farage has a mountain to climb.”