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14 November 2016

Nigel Farage denounced as “a poppy-less popinjay” for skipping Remembrance Sunday

The Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones was not impressed.

By Julia Rampen

Nigel Farage is a “poppy-less popinjay” for spending Remembrance weekend in a lift with Donald Trump rather than commemorating casualties of war, according to the Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones.

Farage became the first UK politician to meet Trump after his election on a weekend trip to New York. 

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But Jones, who is also the Welsh Labour leader, was unimpressed.

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He said: “This weekend when people from every walk of life joined to commemorate our war dead in services around the country, there was one conspicuous absence. Nigel Farage.”

While he said no one had to wear a poppy or attend remembrance events, Jones hit out at Farage for his hypocrisy. “You don’t get to appropriate the Battle of Britain in your campaign literature, only to prioritise transatlantic photo-ops a few months later,” he said. “Mr Farage likes to play by a different set of rules, this much is true. But in what universe do we let go, without comment or censure, the pictures of this grinning poppy-less popinjay in a gold lift with Donald Trump?”

As Jones noted, other politicians face tremendous scrutiny over their conduct during remembrance season. In 2015, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a pacifist, was attacked by right-wing newspapers for wearing a white poppy for Remembrance Sunday (in the end he wore a red one), and The Sun complained that he didn’t bow low enough when placing his wreath

Yet a snapshot of Farage in the Trump Tower’s golden lift shows Farage was not wearing a poppy at all – but a small pin with the Stars and Stripes and Union Jack flags intertwined.

Jones said the public should recognise that Farage has made a choice to “go on a jolly” over commemoration. “No other party leader would get away with this,” he said. “We shouldn’t let Mr Farage.”

As well as tweeting a picture of himself and Trump in a golden lift, Farage retweeted a message about Remembrance Sunday, and suggested Trump might return the bust of Winston Churchill to the White House (in fact, the bust is still there).