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I was ‘gateway drug' for Boris Johnson to be PM – Farage

‘I will miss the drama. I will miss being the pantomime villain who gets up and 500 people boo,' MEP said.

Nigel Farage has said he was the “gateway drug” that enabled Boris Johnson to become Prime Minister.

He insisted that Theresa May would still be in Downing Street if he had not launched the Brexit Party.

Mr Farage was speaking on the UK’s final full day in the European Union after unveiling his portrait, Mr Brexit, which will be auctioned to raise money for charity.

The work created by artist Dan Llywelyn Hall was revealed at L’Escargot Restaurant in London.

Mr Farage insisted that Mr Johnson was in power because of Ukip and Brexit Party supporters.

The prominent Leaver made an impact on the December general election when he said that the Brexit Party would not stand against the Tories in the 317 seats the Conservatives won in 2017.

Referring to Mr Johnson, Mr Farage told the PA news agency: “His voters didn’t go from Labour to Conservative, they came through the gateway drug – which in a sense was me – through Ukip and the Brexit Party.

“If we hadn’t launched the Brexit Party and reset the agenda, Mrs May would still be there.

“But, those votes weren’t a Conservative vote, those votes were a Brexit vote.”

The artistic work created by artist Dan Llywelyn Hall was revealed at L’Escargot Restaurant in London, just before the UK is set to leave the European Union.

Mr Farage said: “I will miss the drama. I will miss being the pantomime villain who gets up and 500 people boo.

“I won’t miss Brussels because it’s a dump. But I will miss Strasbourg which has got lots of family-run restaurants and yeah, of course, I am going to miss that.

“I suppose my level of notoriety is relatively high at the moment and I am hoping we can auction this off for a magnificent charity.”

Asked if he thought the other MEPs would be glad to be rid of him, Mr Farage said: “No. They are going to miss me terribly – I have made them all famous.

“The truth of it is, whether you are pro, or against the structures of the European Parliament, I have probably shed more light on it than any MEP has ever done.”

The money raised by the painting will go towards veteran support charity Care After Combat.

Earlier, he described Brexit as “the achievement of my lifetime” in the wake of the final Withdrawal Agreement vote.

Following his fiery departure speech – which saw him having his microphone cut off and being told to leave “and take your flags with you” by the deputy speaker – Mr Farage said he found it hard to believe Brexit was happening.

He said: “As I walked out, for just a second, I did feel something. And then I thought, stiffen up, the cameras might get that.

“It has been a huge chapter of my life. I gave up a career in business to go up and becoming an MEP, arguably it had a very damaging effect on family life and other things.”

He said he will now be spending more time in America: “There is a big election coming up in November. It is no great secret I am a friend of the president’s, I want to see him elected. He may be a bit rough around the edges for some people but on the big stuff, I am joined at the hip with him.”

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