Nigel Farage denies £548K links to Russian state

In a video posted on Twitter Nigel Farage denied taking money from the Russian state in 2018. (@Nigel_Farage/Twitter)

Nigel Farage has strongly denied allegations he was paid more than half a million pounds by the Russian state.

On Tuesday, Chris Bryant, Labour MP for Rhondda, told MPs that Nigel Farage received £548,573 in 2018 from Russian state broadcaster Russia Today and suggested the former Brexit Party leader should be sanctioned.

Bryant has repeatedly called on high-profile individuals with links to the Russian state to face sanctions.

Read more: Dorries: RT must never again be allowed to broadcast poisonous propaganda in UK

He said he was “mystified” by some of the names missing from the UK sanctions list and used parliamentary privilege to identify individuals.

These included broadcasters “trotting out propaganda” on Russian television and others said to be associates of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Labour former minister Chris Bryant delivering an an emotional speech in the House of Commons, London, calling for gay and bisexual MPs who faced down Hitler to be remembered via law to pardon those gay men convicted of now abolished sexual offences.
Labour MP Chris Bryant accused Nigel Farage of taking almost £550,000 from Russia Today (RT) in 2018. (PA Images)

He also questioned why Roman Abramovich’s properties “owned through his subsidiaries, as it were, or members of his family rather” have not been frozen.

And he said of Nigel Farage: “I’d simply point out that Nigel Farage received from Russia Today £548,573 pounds in 2018 alone from the Russian state.

Farage swiftly took to Twitter to post a video firmly rejecting the claims.

“Chris Bryant, paranoid EU Remainer, has stood up in the House of Commons today and made the most outrageous statement.

“He says, that in 2018, I received over half a million pounds from Russia Today; Mr Bryant, in 2018, I did not receive a penny from Russia Today.

“In previous years, I’d done a couple of bits for them. I decided it wasn’t suitable for me.”

Farage went on to point out that Bryant has previously appeared on RT, which the Labour MP did as a guest in 2014. Bryant has firmly denied receiving any payment from RT.

Farage also appeared to threaten legal action if Bryant repeats his allegation outside the House of Commons, where the rules of parliamentary privilege allow MPs to make claims in parliament without the risk of being sued for libel.

“Say that outside of the House of Commons, I’d like you to, I could do with a new car – maybe even a new house, but of course you won’t do that. You’ve said this on the basis of no evidence,” Farage added.

Nigel Farage made regular appearances on Russia Today previously. (Russia Today)

The basis of the figure of £548,573 quoted by Mr Bryant is unclear, although a source close to Mr Farage told the Mirror that this was Mr Farage's firm's "total income" for 2018.

British politicians appearing on RT is not unusual in the UK, with senior figures appearing as paid guests including: Labour shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy; senior Tory MP, David Davis; former Liberal Democrat, leader Vince Cable; and former Scottish National Party leader, Alex Salmond.

Russia Today has been banned across the European Union following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Read more: BBC faces ban in Russia if UK shuts down RT, Liz Truss warns MPs

It is widely seen as a propaganda mouthpiece for the Russian government and has repeatedly defended Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The EU ban meant RT disappeared from UK screens as well.

UK regulator Ofcom has launched dozens of investigations into the due impartiality of programmes on the channel.

Watch: Ukraine crisis: Ofcom urged to review Russia Today as broadcaster branded Vladimir Putin's 'propaganda tool'