Nigel Farage has insisted he does not want to be prime minister despite his Brexit Party storming ahead of the Conservatives in opinion polls.
Farage’s new party looks on course to win next week’s European elections, with a YouGov/Times poll on Friday putting it 26 points ahead of the Tories.
Some pollsters have even suggested the Brexit Party could garner more votes than the Tories in a general election, sparking speculation that Farage could one day be PM.
But the ex-Ukip leader told HuffPost UK he would rather be an “agent for change”, and rebuffed calls from some Tories for an electoral pact to deliver Brexit.
Farage stressed he would not give up campaigning even if he gets the no-deal Brexit he wants, insisting it would create the conditions for radical political overhaul – including giving voters the chance to trigger referenda.
Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice used a rally in Wolverhampton on Thursday to point out the betting odds on Farage being PM were “shortening fast”.
But speaking from the back of a campaign bus in Dudley the next day, Farage told HuffPost UK: “I don’t need to be prime minister.
“I’m not sure I would be very good at it anyway.
“There are two types of people in politics – those who want to be something, those who want to do something.
“I have always been about changing things and doing things and making arguments and that’s still where I am.”
Farage said he would not stop fighting for a “WTO Brexit”, with the UK defaulting to World Trade Organisation rules after leaving the EU, until it is actually delivered.
He stressed he would like to abolish the House of Lords – “that’s got to go” – said he would reform Britain’s voting system to give smaller parties more of a voice.
He went on: “I also feel very strongly that the ability to call referendums through direct democracy should be a very important piece of the armoury.
“The Swiss set the barriers quite low, so they have lots of referendums, I don’t believe there’s an appetite for that.
“But I do think on very major issues if parliament gets out of touch with public opinion then people should have the ability to hold them to account, absolutely, on a grand scale.
“Those sort of things excite me.
“We’re only here because we had an exercise in direct democracy in the referendum.”
Farage meanwhile rebuffed Tory Crispin Blunt’s call for an electoral pact to deliver Brexit.
He said: “Who would I trust? Why would I trust them? Let’s wait and see what happens.
“At the moment we are building a new political movement, we’re attracting people from across the spectrum, and the idea of doing deals at the moment is not on the agenda.”