BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Nigel Farage, the former leader of Britain’s UK Independence Party, has long had a knack for generating publicity for his eurosceptic cause, but campaigners say he had nothing to do with the latest stunt: branded condoms bearing his image.
Among the most attention-grabbing items on sale at this year’s UKIP conference in Birmingham on Friday were condoms in packets printed with an image of Farage, eyebrow raised, and the phrase “For when you have a hard Brexit” underneath.
“They’re one pound each, or two pounds for four - at UKIP we like making deal, so long as it’s a good deal,” said Sebastian Cheek, the 20 year-old student who designed the packet and was selling 200 condoms to raise funds for the party’s youth wing.
UKIP is seeking to revive its dwindling political influence at the annual party get-together. Its popularity collapsed following the 2016 vote to leave the European Union and several botched attempts to replace the talismanic Farage as leader.
Farage remains a UKIP member but has tried to steer clear of the limelight to allow the party to develop a new identity - although no one appears to have told the party faithful snapping up the condoms and helping themselves to free framed photos of a grinning Farage standing with U.S. President Donald Trump.
The array of conference stalls pitches a local branch selling “I love UKIP” underwear thongs opposite the party’s Christian members’ wing offering earnest leaflets on leaving the EU. The official UKIP stall sells bags of Brexit fudge - a sarcastic take on Prime Minister Theresa May’s approach to leaving the bloc.
By lunchtime on the first day of the two-day conference, almost half the stock of the Farage condoms had been snapped up: “It is a reputable condom ... they’re going very quickly,” said Cheek.
Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison