I am odd (for a politician), UKIP leader Nigel Farage says

Nigel Farage Mr Farage describes himself as a campaigner who wants less "state interference in our lives"

Nigel Farage has shrugged off criticism from the prime minister that UKIP contains "some pretty odd people".

Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme to respond to David Cameron's comments, Mr Farage said it was right to describe himself as "odd" because he had "actually had a job in the real world".

"I'm odd in the sense that I'm a conviction politician," he added.

In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Farage defended UKIP as a "party where we've got some eccentrics".

This was preferable to a "party made up of a bland lot of ghastly people whose names I don't even know", he said.

The Today programme's John Humphrys suggested Mr Cameron may have had Mr Farage in mind when he spoke about odd members of UKIP on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

Start Quote

Who's to say that in 2015 UKIP may well be needed in a coalition?”

End Quote Nigel Farage UKIP leader

"I mean this entirely respectfully, obviously, you are a bit odd yourself, aren't you, in terms of party leadership?" he asked.

'Brutal'

"Well I am, you're quite right. Unlike all the others I actually had a job in the real world, for 20 years," Mr Farage said.

"I'm odd in the sense that I'm a conviction politician, I'm not doing this for a career, or for rank opposition.

"I'm here as a campaigner: I want to free this country from the European Union and then I want us to have a much smaller level of state interference in our lives in this country.

"That is my motivation; maybe I'm odd in that sense."

Mr Farage said his party was making "huge progress" towards achieving that goal. "In the space of one year, we've gone from 4.5% in the polls to yesterday's high of 16%."

UKIP does not have any MPs, he said, because "the first-past-the-post system is brutal to a party like us".

"We've got a lot of work to do on that, and to build up our stronger areas, but who's to say that in 2015 UKIP may well be needed in a coalition?"

The UKIP leader had told the Guardian that there was "no way" his party could work with Mr Cameron "under any circumstances".

But he did not rule out going into government with Labour if a referendum on the EU became the party's official policy.

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