Glen Owen — Mail on Sunday April 30, 2017
It was the picture that appeared to signal the start of a lucrative new chapter in Nigel Farage’s rollercoaster career.
But barely four months after the beaming former Ukip leader posed with newly-elected President Donald Trump, his American dream is in danger of turning sour.
Mr Farage’s allies have complained he is being ‘sidelined’ by Trump’s inner circle – the victim of White House infighting and his outspoken criticism of the President’s cruise missile attack on Syria
Farage had told friends he was ‘fed up with being skint’ and hoped the Trump connection would allow him to make ‘serious money’ from speeches and punditry in the US.
He first established links with Trump through his chief strategist Steve Bannon, a long-term friend and ex-head of the Right-wing outfit Breitbart News
But now Bannon, who was Trump’s campaign chief, has lost out in a power struggle with Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser – and more importantly the husband of Trump’s increasingly influential daughter Ivanka.
Washington sources said Farage and Bannon were both out of favour with Trump after opposing the President’s cruise missile attack earlier this month on a Syrian air base in retaliation for dictator Bashar Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons on his own people. Mr Farage warned: ‘Many Trump voters will be worried about this military intervention. Where will it end?’
But Ivanka Trump’s emotional reaction to distressing images of gassed children persuaded her father to override the objections.
A Farage friend said: ‘The wind has changed very quickly for Nigel. Bannon’s loss of influence to Ivanka and the internationalists mean his influence has waned quickly. He won’t get Fox News ringing him up to appear if they don’t think he has a line into the Oval Office’.
And a source with strong ties to the White House National Security Council said: ‘Without Bannon, Farage is a nobody and would have no access to Trump. Bannon’s influence is fading fast.
‘Trump was far from pleased when Farage criticised his decision to send missiles into Syria. Farage was never more than a fringe figure here. I haven’t heard his name mentioned recently. There is no indication he has meaningful influence’.
The news comes as Ukip’s poll ratings are going into freefall under Farage’s successor, Paul Nuttall. Pollsters say the increasing marginalisation of the party as a political force will help Theresa May to achieve her ambition of a landslide on June 8.
It also coincides with a turbulent period in Mr Farage’s personal life. Earlier this year, the MoS revealed that he was sharing a secret £4 million bachelor pad in West London with Laure Ferrari, an attractive French politician at the centre of a probe into illegal funding of his party.
Ferrari, 15 years younger than the Brexit campaigner, moved in with Mr Farage in a grand Georgian house. Although Mr Farage claimed it was ‘crackers’ to suggest they were having an affair, his wife Kirsten later said that she and her husband were living ‘separate lives’. Last night, a source close to Mr Farage said: ‘Nigel’s friendship with Donald goes back long before he became President and will survive any temporary differences over policy.’