British populist Nigel Farage gets a milkshake in the face while launching his election campaign

Nigel Farage, the new leader of Britain's right-wing Reform Party and a thorn in the side of the ruling Conservative Party, was poured a soft drink on Tuesday on his first full day of campaigning for a seat in Parliament in the May 4 election.

Farage scored the biggest success of the campaign on Monday by announcing that he would lead reform and stand in the election, a blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose Conservative Party is trailing Labor in the opinion polls.

Farage is best known for helping to lead a successful campaign in 2016 for Britain to leave the European Union, and his popularity has pressured a series of Conservative leaders to be tougher on immigration.

Shortly after launching his campaign at his headquarters in Clacton-on-Sea in southeast England, a woman threw a large glass of soft drink at him as he left a pub, photos posted on social media showed.

He appeared to be unharmed when security took him away, then appeared smiling in a video posted on X, holding a McDonald's cup and jokingly saying: “My shake brings all the people to the march.”

Honorary Chairman of the UK Reform Party, Nigel Farage, during a press conference in London, June 3, 2024. Image: Reuters

Richard Tice, leader of the Reform Party, described the attacker as a “crazy young man” and said his party would not be intimidated and that the incident would help it win hundreds of thousands of extra votes.

Police said they arrested a 25-year-old woman on suspicion of assault.

Home Secretary James Cleverly condemned the incident, describing it as unacceptable.

Farage, a former commodities trader who is often photographed with a cigarette and a pint of beer in hand, has been an icon of Eurosceptics in Britain for three decades and is no stranger to controversy.

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He is charismatic and divisive, and in the past has made statements that his opponents have described as racist. During the Brexit campaign, Farage appeared in front of a poster showing rows of migrants with the slogan “Breaking Point”. He said last month that Muslims did not share British values.

He was doused with a milkshake in 2019 while campaigning for the Brexit Party, Reform's predecessor, in Newcastle ahead of the European Parliament elections.

His attacker then had to pay for his suit to be cleaned after pleading guilty to common assault and criminal damage.

Sacha Woodward

"Wannabe writer. Lifelong problem solver. Gamer. Incurable web guru. Professional music lover."

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