Farage lied about our affair to save his beloved Brexit
Political aide to ex-Ukip leader comes clean... about the clandestine affair that drove her to despair
NIGEL FARAGE has systematically lied about an affair with a vulnerable former aide spanning more than a decade, The Irish Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The former Ukip leader is accused of breathtaking hypocrisy by his former lover, who claims she was told to keep the relationship secret at all costs – to help save Brexit.
In an explosive interview, Annabelle Fuller, once a speechwriter and adviser to the party and its leader, says she and Farage, a married man more than 17 years her senior, had a sexual relationship from 2004 until October 2016.
MEP Farage has himself spoken of the ‘betrayal’ of family values in British society.
In a series of devastating admissions about their time together, Ms Fuller discloses:
Sexual encounters in MEP offices in the European Parliament as recently as last year;
A secret love letter in which Farage declares his devotion to her with ‘heart and body’;
That the affair helped propel her into depression, self-harm and suicide attempts;
That Farage’s wife Kirsten – now estranged – was behind Ms Fuller’s dramatic ejection from a Ukip celebration party in 2014.
Ms Fuller’s decision to speak out is all the more remarkable as both she and Farage have repeatedly dismissed rumours of a liaison.
‘We decided to lie about it right from the start’
Today, she believes that only by telling the truth will she be able to put her life ‘back on track’.
‘Right from the beginning, lying about the affair was a strategy we decided on,’ she says. ‘He told me I had to keep quiet. I said to him, “Do you have any idea how painful it is for me?”, and he would say “Yes”.
‘Nigel and I both knew we had to keep quiet to save Brexit. We are both liars and hypocrites...’
Ms Fuller, who now works behind a bar in Bath, describes meeting Farage for the first time in Brussels in 2004. He was an up-and-coming MEP. She was 23, had just completed a masters in International Relations, and was working as a Ukip researcher.
‘I was introduced to Nigel in the second week of the job and he was polite but cool,’ she recalls.
‘Looking back, I don’t recall an immediate spark of attraction on either side. To me, he was just another middle-aged man in a suit.’ After work, like hundreds of others, she would end up in one of the bars around the Parliament building, the kind where Farage held court. Soon, they were spending a lot of time together.
‘He was fun, with a wicked sense of humour. He had the best jokes and the most interesting stories. I loved listening to him. I was captivated by his worldliness.’ For several months, the friendship remained platonic, with Farage something of a father figure. The young woman – with a teenage history of bulimia – came to rely on him. ‘I did research for him, advising him and briefing MEPs on how they were voting. I also helped with his speeches. ‘Our first kiss took place in Brussels in 2005. It was on my forehead. He was saying goodnight, but it felt very comforting. It didn’t feel improper. Our relationship grew slowly over several months.’ Farage had been with his wife, Kirsten, since 1999, but he said it was a marriage in name only. ‘He said that it was an unhappy relationship and had been for some time. He told me the marriage was not a real one.’ Then, in April 2005, Farage asked Ms Fuller to work on his – as it would prove – unsuccessful election campaign as a volunteer. ‘Nigel visited every couple of days while we campaigned and sometimes stayed overnight in a hotel in Broadstairs.’ One evening, Farage invited a group to dinner at his hotel. As the evening went on, just three of them remained – Farage, Ms Fuller and one other.
‘Nigel offered us a sofabed to sleep on because there were no taxis, but I was the only one to take up the offer,’ she recalls. ‘I knew what would happen if I stayed and I wanted it to. When we got upstairs I took one look at the room and said, “but there’s no sofabed,’’ and we both just laughed.’
‘I told him I needed something to change into and he produced a Tshirt from his suitcase. Then I went to the bathroom, took off my makeup and used his toothbrush. When I came back into the bedroom he was in bed wearing a white T-shirt and white Y-fronts. I got in and said “budge-up”. It was very English.
‘It was gentle. Our clothes came off in the dark. He said, “you’re so beautiful”. We drifted off to sleep in each other’s arms.’ The following morning, he was up early.
‘He asked how I was, and said, “Do you regret it?” I said no and he said neither did he and that my a*** had looked amazing in the moonlight.’
The relationship grew, but Farage told her it had to remain a secret.
From then on, she says, they were a ‘proper couple’ and Farage moved into her flat in the Maelbeek area whenever he was in Brussels.
‘He kept clothes and some shoes there. We still went out with others as a group and I think everyone knew by then we were an item.’
For a while, Ms Fuller happily played the part of a surrogate wife, organising his life, both domestic and professional.
‘He was rather messy and left wet towels on the floor for me to pick up every morning. He could also be very absent-minded at times.’
For a while, she was happy to remain a mistress, but as time passed her feelings changed.
‘In those early days, he was my reason for getting up in the mornings. Whenever Nigel left to go back to England, it was horrible and I was desolate.
‘He was fun with a wicked sense of humour’
‘He couldn’t even call me on the phone because he said he was with his family. It was very hard for me to know that he had another life.
‘Kirsten knew he was seeing me because someone in the party told her. I used to ring the home in Kent and she would hang up on me, or I could hear her hand the phone to Nigel with an acerbic “it’s her”.’
Increasingly depressed by her position as ‘the other woman’, Ms Fuller began to self-harm.
‘I started to cut myself some months into the relationship because I couldn’t articulate how I felt. When I told Nigel, he was devastated and blamed himself. He begged me to stop.’
In the summer of 2006, Ms Fuller moved back to work in Ukip’s London press office where they continued as lovers. On her 25th birthday, Farage gave her a diamond pendant. When that was stolen, he paid for a sapphire and diamond replacement.
But by the autumn, Ms Fuller decided to end the relationship. ‘I said that it wasn’t working. I didn’t want to be the other woman any more. I loved him but I wanted a proper relationship.’
He said he understood, but that his children were his priority. A week later, she received a letter from Farage – dated November 25, 2006 – which she still keeps.
‘No one will ever love, understand or care for you the way that I do,’ it reads. ‘I adore you and the bond of friendship that we have shared. What I dread is not being close to you… I fear that this may not go away for many years.’
Pleading with her to take care of herself, he signed off the letter with: ‘I only wish that I had been free for you. With all my heart and body. Love Nigel x’.
She says: ‘I was angry. He was telling me he loved me and I wanted it to be a clean break. I wanted a shot at a normal life. It was the first time he had declared his feelings so openly. But it was too little too late. I had to end it for me and for him but I know it hurt him very badly.
‘We kept in touch as I could not imagine him not being in my life.’
She embarked on a new relationship, but this foundered. And by December 2007, she was back in a sexual relationship with Farage – which continued even when she quit the party in 2008.
‘I’d hoped to make a fresh start but even then I found I couldn’t cut the ties to him. He was the only person I could rely on.’ In 2010, she asked Farage if she could go back and work for him, helping his campaign to become Ukip leader.
At Christmas, he bought her a blood-red Vivienne Westwood coat from Harrods. By now, however, there was a further complication. Farage had met a woman called Laure Ferrari, 16 years his junior.
Ms Fuller says she and Farage kept their relationship strictly professional between 2010 and 2012, however the sex resumed from 2013 onwards – only this time she felt it was more sordid.
‘He used to ask for hand massages and say he had all the stress in his hands. I used to give him them and we would talk and sometimes he would say, “how about here”, pointing down at his trousers.’
Then, in March 2014, came a bombshell intervention on the floor of the European Parliament when then Ukip MEP Nikki Sinclaire used parliamentary privilege to allege that Ms Fuller was ‘Farage’s mistress’, a claim he refused to answer immediately.
‘I have spoken to every national newspaper on this issue and the answer remains the same as it was in 2006... No,’ he said.
In May 2014, Ukip caused a minor earthquake by winning 24 seats in the European elections. For Ms Fuller, this would prove a turning point. Although she had worked on the campaign, she was ordered to leave a celebration party.
‘I was told by one of Nigel’s security staff that I had to leave on the orders of Kirsten Farage and that she would have me dragged out by my hair if I didn’t go,’ she says. ‘So I did, so as not to cause a scene. I felt ashamed, useless and alone.’
She says the humiliation triggered a suicide attempt, the first of four dangerous episodes of self-harm over the next few years. ‘I went home and slit my wrists and burnt myself with a cigarette repeatedly on my arm. I went to hospital after a friend called an ambulance.’
Even so, the sexual encounters with Farage would continue.
‘He once turned up at my house in Wiltshire in 2015, a baseball cap pulled down over his eyes,’ she says. ‘He wanted sex. I told him no. But as usual Nigel was very insistent... I did end up feeling like a hooker after he left.’
And when he propositioned her in Brussels in the spring of 2016,
‘He was in bed wearing white Y-fronts’ ‘He lay on sofa and asked for a hand massage’
she once again accepted. ‘He came in and shut the door. He was lying on the sofa, we were talking and he said he was horny. He asked me to give him a hand massage, which was always followed by me performing a sex act. It was over and done with quickly. At that point I was beyond caring.’
The last encounter took place in Strasbourg on October 4 last year. Again he entered the office when she was alone. ‘He gave me a kiss. I wanted affection. And I did as he asked. But I felt disgusted with myself. The next day I learnt the EU was investigating some expenses and I flipped.
‘That combined with the Nigel situation left me feeling that life was pointless. So I cut my wrist in the ladies’ toilet of the Parliament and ended up in hospital.’
Throughout this time, she says, the pressure to maintain the lie became unbearable – the more so since they had been ‘outed’ on the floor of the European Parliament.
‘I feel used and discarded. Now, I want to tell the truth so that I can claim my life back.’
Last night, Mr Farage declined to confirm or deny that he had had an affair with Ms Fuller. In a statement he said: ‘At the time of Ms Fuller’s employment the party did not know there was a history of mental illness and other serious personal issues.
‘I always tried to help her, recognising that she had ability, and prevented her from being fired on several occasions.’
In his book, The Purple Revolution: The Year That Changed Everything, Farage credits a teacher for instilling in him ‘the 11th commandment: don’t get caught’.
Today, that commandment lies shattered. And Farage, Ms Fuller says, has only himself to blame.
ESTRANGED WIFE: Kirsten Farage