Nigel Farage has milkshake thrown over him after election campaign launch in Clacton

Nigel Farage has had a milkshake thrown over him after launching his election campaign in Essex.

The new leader of Reform UK was leaving the Wetherspoons Moon and Starfish pub in Clacton-on-Sea, where he is standing to be an MP, when a young woman in a grey hooded jumper threw a drink in his face before throwing the cup at him then walking off.

It appeared to be a McDonald's milkshake.

He was seen wincing as the liquid hit his face, then wiping it away as he was ushered out of the way by his team.

Essex Police said they had arrested a 25-year-old woman from Clacton after responding to a report of a drink being thrown at a man in Marine Parade East at around 2.10pm.

As officers were arresting the woman, a second person, a man, was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker.

"Both individuals remain in custody for questioning," a police spokesman said.

Nearly two hours after the incident, Mr Farage appeared in front of the Reform UK bus with a McDonald's banana milkshake and said: "My milkshake brings all the people to the rally."

Later, he told ITV News that the incident was "quite frightening" and claimed he was targeted "because I go out and meet the public".

He added: "What does Rishi do? He gets a room with two-dozen councillors or whatever it is.

"Nobody goes out and does the old-style street campaigning the way that I do. And this is the risk that goes with it, and I'll be honest, it is quite scary."

Just a few hours before the milkshake was thrown at him, Mr Farage had launched his election campaign surrounded by hundreds of supporters after announcing he would be standing as a Reform UK candidate on Monday.

Last week, he said he had ruled out standing as an MP. He has unsuccessfully attempted to become an MP seven times previously.

Mr Farage told supporters at his launch that the Conservatives had breached the British people's trust, claiming they had "opened up the borders to mass immigration like we've never seen before".

He told them that meant "they are finished, they are done" and argued he should be in Westminster to push for change from a Labour government.

A new YouGov poll for Sky News has Labour winning the election with 42.9% of the vote, while Reform is set to take 10.1% - an increase of 8.1% on 2019.

Richard Tice, who Mr Farage took over from as leader of Reform on Monday, stood up for his successor.

"The juvenile moron who threw a drink over Nigel has just gained us hundreds of thousands more votes," he wrote on social media.

"We will not be bullied or threatened off the campaign trail."

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Giles Watling, the Conservative candidate in Clacton, said he was sorry his rival had a drink thrown at him.

"We may disagree, but every candidate has the right to campaign without fear of violence or intimidation!" he added.

Former Conservative minister and lawyer Robert Jenrick said it was "clearly a criminal offence" and said there "can be no place for this kind of behaviour towards any candidate from any political party on the campaign trail".

Yvette Cooper, Labour's shadow home secretary, said it was a "disgraceful assault" on Mr Farage.

She added: "Completely unacceptable and wrong. No one should face intimidation or assault in an election campaign. Thank you to the police for responding."

Read more:
All you need to know about Nigel Farage

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Mr Farage is no stranger to being pelted with food or drink, and it is not even the first time he has had a milkshake thrown at him.

In May 2019, Paul Crowther, from Newcastle, doused the then-Brexit Party leader with a £5.25 banana and salted caramel milkshake from burger chain Five Guys during a Newcastle city centre walkabout ahead of the European elections.

He was arrested at the scene and pleaded guilty to common assault and criminal damage, and was ordered to pay Mr Farage £350 in compensation to have his suit cleaned after the "politically motivated attack".

In 2014, Mr Farage, then leader of UKIP, had an egg thrown at him by a protester during a campaign visit to Nottingham.

Read more on the election:
General Election poll tracker
Warning over risk of audio deepfakes that could derail election
Tories could tumble but there's no mad enthusiasm for Labour

The other candidates vying to become MP for Clacton are:

  • Jovan Owusu-Nepaul, Labour;

  • Giles Watling, Conservatives;

  • Natasha Osben, Greens;

  • Matthew Bensilum, Lib Dems.