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

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Paul Ca­ha­lan and An­gella John­son

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

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