Nigel Farage has said that Vladimir Putin is the world leader he most admires, just days after sparking a political row after claiming the EU had “blood on its hands” over its handling of the Ukraine crisis.
Speaking to GQ magazine, the UKIP leader said he admired Putin “as an operator, but not as a human being.” He said that the way Putin played the situation in Syria was “brilliant”, however he added that he does not approve of Putin politically.
In the interview, conducted by Tony Blair’s former spin chief Alastair Campbell, he also poured scorn on European leaders, saying they had been “weak and vain”, and that “if you poke the Russian bear with a stick he will respond.”
He was also scathing of German chancellor Angela Merkel: “She is incredibly cold. I always say – I agree this is a bit rude – but whatever you think of the public image of Merkel, in private she is even more miserable. I warm to more extrovert people.”
He also criticised the leaders of Britain’s three main parties. Prime Minister David Cameron is “a perfectly nice fellow who stands four-square for nothing”, Opposition leader Ed Miliband is “nice chap, not very worldly – I would love to see him in a working men’s club in Newcastle”, and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is “a very nice guy, just wrong”.
When asked which one he’d like to win the next election, he said: “I don’t care,” and added: “If I was back in the London Metal Exchange I’d not give a toss, because 100 per cent of the legislation affecting me is made in Brussels.”