Published: 13:44, 23 November 2021
| Updated: 15:40, 23 November 2021
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage has not ruled out a return to the political frontline after more than 25,000 asylum seekers crossed the Channel in less than a year.
He turned his back on politics after Brexit, saying he wanted to get his life back after years campaigning for the UK to leave the EU.
While he has played down the prospects of returning to politics full time, he indicated he could engage reverse gear, warning that the problems of illegal crossings was only just starting.
So far the number in 2021 is triple 2020's figures despite repeat vows to stop the crossings by Home Secretary Priti Patel.
"This was meant to be an era of hope, this was meant to be Brexit Britain. It’s not just migrants, it’s Net Zero and taxes, too,” he said, adding: "The migrant crisis hasn’t even started — the numbers are only going to go up and up and up.”
The continuing rise alongside the failure of the government to get a grip on the issue had led to calls by supporters and donors to come back, said the former MEP.
In an article for the Daily Telegraph, he wrote the “migrant crisis is out of control and the prime minister doesn’t seem to care” before pointing out that he is definitely not a racist, even though the “Twitter mob” might think so.
The threat of a return by Mr Farage coincides with an admission from the South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay that voters were identifying the issue as one they had concerns about on the doorstep. If it was not dealt with by the government , he warned, it could become an election issue.
However it would seem unlikely that Mr Farage would stand as a candidate at a general election. His last attempt in 2015 - his seventh - ended in defeat at the hands of Mr Mackinlay.
He did make a more successful return to politics in 2019, establishing the Brexit party to pressure the government to commit to ensuring that the UK would be leaving the EU.
The party swept to victory in the European Parliament poll and he government eventually negotiated a deal and left the EU last January.
He is a regular visitor to Dover to observe the arrival of dinghies carrying scores of people and posts videos on Twitter.
He triggered a row in July when he attacked the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) – describing them as a “taxi service” for illegal trafficking gangs because they rescued migrants at risk of drowning in the Channel.
His attack raised the profile of the charity and donations soared.