Nigel Farage has ridiculed the idea he secretly passed information between Donald Trump and the Russians, saying the only link he has to the country is drinking Russian vodka.
Speaking to Republicans on the outskirts of Washington DC, Mr Farage said that campaigning for the Trump campaign was “the best decision I ever made in my life”.
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He told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference (Cpac) that Mr Trump was on course to become a “truly great president”.
Mr Farage praised conservatives on both side of the Atlantic for having “stuffed the establishment” in 2016 by electing Mr Trump and backing Brexit.
But he warned against “complacency” and said that if he had to fight a second referendum campaign on the European Union it would be “no more Mr Nice Guy”.
The former Ukip leader has built up a right-wing following in the United States after he hit the campaign trail alongside Mr Trump before the US election.
In recent months he has faced questions over Russian connections after claims he carried a USB stick of information to Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder whose website published the Democratic Party emails.
Mr Farage and his close allies – the businessman Arron Banks and friend Andy Wigmore – have also faced allegations about whether Russia interfered in the Brexit referendum.
Speaking from the conference stage on Friday, Mr Farage gave a lengthy rebuttal to the claims and suggested the only Russian connection he had was found in his drinking habits.
“I’ve read that actually I’m at the centre of an international spiders’ web. I’m the one person connecting Trump, Putin and Julian Assange,” Mr Farage said.
“I’ve been running memory sticks back and forth from the White House and the Kremlin to Assange. And I have to tell you, I hadn’t realised I’m that important, I really hadn’t."
Mr Farage said: “We have managed to change the course of history. But what we now have to do is to make sure that change of direction, that change of history, is not just a short-term phenomenon.”