UKIP leader Nigel Farage claims he is the poorest person he knows in politics.
In a forthcoming one-off Gogglebox special in which he meets “posh couple” Steph and Dom Parker, Farage tells them: “I don’t think I know anybody in politics as poor as we are”.
In an exclusive interview in this week’s Radio Times, the politician goes on to say that he and his wife Kirsten only own a “small semi-detached house in the country”, adding: “I can barely afford to live there.”
The man who, as an MEP earns a salary of £79,000 a year (with office allowances of around £42,600 a year), continues: “We don’t drive flash cars, we don’t have expensive holidays, we haven’t done for ten years.”
Inquiries by Radio Times suggest that his home is worth around £540,000.
In this week’s magazine, Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee vents her fury that the programme has been made in the first place.
“It should be stopped; it’s an absolute outrage,” says Toynbee. “It plays straight into his image as the man with the glass of beer, a nice bloke. It’s unacceptable. He doesn’t get questioned about his policies, because his policies are a mess. It’s just a jolly pre-Christmas programme.”
John Sergeant, the political editor turned Strictly contestant who knows a thing or two about politics and light entertainment, says Toynbee’s view is “a bit heavy”.
But he believes Farage is making an error by doing the show.
“There is always the risk of overexposure,” he tells the magazine. “The idea that he is vaguely in entertainment isn’t particularly wise. What he has got to do now is stop being the man with the pint and be the man with the plan.”
The new issue of Radio Times magazine is in shops from Thursday 4th December and on Newsstand for iPad or iPhone. Steph and Dom Meet Nigel Farage airs on Channel 4 on 15th December