Donald Trump nearly sparked a diplomatic scandal earlier this week when he tweeted that Nigel Farage, the interim UKIP leader and the lead Brexit campaigner, would be great as Britain's ambassador to Washington, a suggestions which Theresa May's government quickly dismissed saying there was "no vacancy" as Kim Darroch is currently serving as ambassador to Washington, and leading to an outpouring of protests from the UK press accusing Trump of meddling in sovereign affairs.
When asked by ITV television about Farage's ambassadorial ambitions, finance minister Philip Hammond said if he ever needed advice from the leader of the UK Independence Party, he had his telephone number. "Tell him not to hold his breath," he added.
However Farage - a long-time supporter of Donald Trump - appears to have enjoyed the barb, and as Reuters reports, he taunted PM May with a mock ambassador's reception complete with chocolate and champagne. At a party at London's Ritz hotel, Farage was cheered by his financial backers before offering guests pyramids of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, "a joking reference to a long-running and much-lampooned 'ambassador's reception' TV advert in which the gold-foiled confection is cast as the delicacy of choice for diplomats."
Farage praised what he called "the political revolution" that had brought Brexit and then the election of Trump. "For those that are here who aren't particularly happy with what's happened in 2016, I've got some really bad news for you: It's going to get a bloody sight worse next year," Farage told guests from a staircase at the Ritz to laughs and cheers.
"I suspect there is another big seismic shock in British politics, perhaps going to come at the next election," Farage said after complaining that Britain was still ruled by "the career professional political class."
Farage also told CNN he wanted a closer relationship between Britain and the United States and that he would like to act as a middle-man to improve relations.
But the biggest surprise of the day came from an article in the Times, which reported that Nigel Farage planning to move to the U.S., regardless if he is appointed ambassador or not. According to The Times, Farage and his wife, Kirsten, are planning to leave the U.K.
Insiders told the newspaper that Farage has had a long-held interest in the U.S. and would feel “freer” from public attention living abroad.
Farage was spotted entering Trump Tower on a Saturday earlier this month. “We’re just tourists,” he told reporters when asked if he was invited there by President-elect Donald Trump or if he was helping with the transition. Farage was the first international diplomat to meet with Trump after the election, and took a photo to memorialize the occasion..
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, later said that the president-elect and Farage had a "very productive" meeting. “I think they enjoy each other’s company, and they absolutely had an opportunity to talk about freedom and winning and what this all means for the world,” she said.
Farage has said that he would welcome a role in the Trump administration and floated the idea of being Trump’s ambassador to the European Union.
The interim UKIP leader himself hinted at a possible move to the US when he said he would be open to moving to the United States as a go-between if the British government wanted to follow Trump's suggestion: "It's up to the British government."
Meanwhile, UK bookmaker Paddy Power, which infamously paid off over $1 million in bets on a Hillary Victory three weeks before the election...
We are paying out early on Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States of America! pic.twitter.com/wRCzYnCsic— Paddy Power (@paddypower) October 18, 2016
...a decision which ended up costing the bookie $4.5 million, has decided to make a cottage industry out of bets on what Farage does next. In a note on its blog, Paddy Power writes that the interim UKIP leader is "planning to move to America to start a new life, potentially working with new buddy, President-elect Donald Trump. Despite the government’s best attempts, rumours continue that Farage could become ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary for the US – with Paddy Power pricing it at 6/1."
More from the blog post:
We have opened a market on Farage’s next job, with options including a role in Trump’s first administration (10/1), an on-air position with Fox News (33/1), and chat show host on American TV (12/1).
We are also offering a price on Farage becoming UK Prime Minister before the end of 2025 (40/1), such is his political influence in the country.
Spokesman Paddy Power said: “Surely Theresa May isn’t going to let Nigel Farage become Britain’s ambassador to America. That would be as ridiculous as making Boris Johnson the Foreign Secretary, or putting David Davis in charge of the Brexit process.
“Still, if 2016’s taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen, even the most unlikely. So Nigel making a triumphant return in a few years to be PM really can’t be ruled out.”
NIGEL FARAGE NEXT JOB SPECIALS
6/1 To be the next UK ambassador to the USA
10/1 To be given a role as part of the first Trump administration
12/1 Host his own chat show on American TV before 2018
33/1 To take up an on-air role with Fox News before 2018
33/1 Dancing With The Stars contestant
40/1 To be Prime Minister before the end of 2025
50/1 The host the US Apprentice before 2018
100/1 ITV’s US showbiz correspondent
200/1 Become a construction worker on the Mexican Wall project
For those willing to bet, the full list of Nigel Farage "specials" can be found here.