Nigel Farage didn’t show up to his own party’s conference

Nigel Farage gone fishing
Reform UK President Nigel Farage.
  • Nigel Farage, leader of Reform UK until March 2021, wasn't at its conference in Manchester.
  • Farage is the party president and by far its best-known figure.
  • The group, formerly the Brexit Party, rebranded after the UK left the European Union.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Nigel Farage, the president of Reform UK and former leader of the party he helped establish, did not appear at the party's first conference since the 2019 general election.

Reform UK held a one-day conference in Manchester alongside the opening of the Conservative Party Conference on Sunday.

Reform UK is the successor to the Brexit Party, which Farage led to victory in the May 2019 European elections, and then to defeat in the Parliamentary general election in December 2019.

Farage stepped down as party leader in March 2021 to focus on his media career, and has recently taken a significant role at GB News, the right-leaning broadcaster that has suffered from a rocky launch.

He wasn't listed on the program for the conference, and was broadcasting for GB News from London on Sunday morning.

In an interview with Insider, the party's deputy leader, Dr. David Bull, suggested it was possible Farage might make an appearance.

"Nigel is still around, very much so. He did his bit," he said, "Without telling you too much, he's around."

Asked if that might translate into an appearance on Sunday, Bull said: "It might do."

But the party's leader, Richard Tice, who inherited the leadership from Farage, was clearer: "Nigel is focusing on his media career. In a sense, of course, he'd love to be here.

"But equally it's important to try and keep that sort of sense of balance and so he doesn't want it to be seen as a distraction on how he's trying to shape and influence through the media."

Asked if Tice had asked Farage to come to the conference, he said: "Of course he's very welcome to come. But ultimately, he's a busy guy. He's doing media five days a week. It's not easy."

Farage did not appear at the conference, a party spokesman confirmed. Farage sent a tweet in support of the conference.

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