- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Nigel Farage may be the Donald Trump of Great Britain — minus the wealth and signature hairstyle.

As leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Mr. Farage shoots from the hip without apology or hesitation. He is calling for stricter immigration laws and cracking down on radical Islam, but most of all, he wants Britain to leave the European Union.

Now the 51-year-old ultraconservative firebrand wants leaders in Washington to support his cause.

Britain is expected to hold a referendum by 2017 on whether to remain in the European Union or become independent from the continental governing body. President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have urged Britons to stay in the EU to prevent a unified Europe from dissolving.

In what he calls “the modern-day Battle of Britain,” Mr. Farage said he hopes the referendum will free Britain from the shackles of bureaucrats and special interest bankers at EU headquarters in Brussels, but that he is growing frustrated with Washington’s rhetoric.

“I’m getting a bit tired of the Obama line and the State Department line, and I want people in America to understand this: We are your greatest ally on this planet, but if we lose this referendum, our ability to continue to be your best ally will diminish by the day,” Mr. Farage said in a speech Wednesday at The Heritage Foundation in Washington.

“Please, could we have no more of Obama telling us how good [the EU] is for us?” he said.

The U.S. president repeatedly has endorsed Britain’s status as a unified member state of the EU. During a referendum campaign last year on Scottish independence, Mr. Obama made a last-minute plea to England’s northern neighbor to stay in the United Kingdom.

Scottish voters overwhelmingly decided to stay in the U.K., handing London and Washington a political victory. Now, nearly one year removed from the historic vote, the U.S. and Britain are turning their attention to another, perhaps more consequential, referendum that could decide the fate of Europe.

During the Group of Seven summit of leading industrial nations in Germany last month, Mr. Obama reassured Mr. Cameron that the U.S. would support the British government’s efforts to remain an EU member. Mr. Farage responded bluntly to the president’s comments.

“We don’t need to take foreign policy advice from the American President. The last time we did that, it was called the Iraq War,” the UKIP leader wrote in a tweet.

UKIP’s criticism of foreign entanglements such as the Iraq War is just one of the reasons for the party’s rise, analysts say. In Britain’s general elections in May, the party garnered more than 3.8 million votes, roughly 12.6 percent of the total, but captured only one of the House of Commons’ 650 seats.

Although UKIP may not have much representation in Westminster, the party isn’t backing down.

“We will be launching a massive series of public events and meetings all over the country starting in September,” Mr. Farage said in an interview with The Telegraph in June. “We are not prepared to stand around and wait.”



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