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10 December 2016

Nigel Farage and his team went from a late-night drink at a hotel bar in Mississippi to the heart of Donald Trump’s empire, apparently by accident – and have the photos to prove it. Here, Andy Wigmore, the Brexit campaigner who took the picture of the year, tells how it all happened – inappropriate crushes, howling Democrat protesters and all

Donald Trump and Nigel Farage standing in front of the golden doors of the new president-elect’s apartment and grinning like schoolboys may go down as the most iconic photograph of 2016.

To understand the warmth between these men, you have to appreciate that here were two outsiders who had both been reviled by the liberal media, and, against all odds, come out as winners. And here they now were: the man who beat the European establishment and the man who beat the Washington machine; Mr Brexit and the leader of the free world, twin architects of a political  earthquake.

Even as I snapped the photo with my iPhone, I couldn’t quite believe it. It was only as we were going down in the lift from Trump’s apartment that the full implication of what we had been part of seemed to hit Nigel. He and Arron Banks, co-founder of the Leave.

EU campaign, crowded round as I showed them that photo, and we all just looked at each other. At that moment I could see Nigel realising that this was history, a snapshot that summed up 2016 and would shake London and Washington.

I remember him muttering, ‘What will people think?’ Nigel has an uncanny sense of theatre, and, as he prepared to tweet the photo, he paused and gave us a mischievous smile before pressing send.  The story of that visit on November 12 began in early August, weeks after the referendum, and a chance meeting with the Mississippi delegation at the Republican convention in Cleveland.


Read the full story online at the Telegraph or in today’s Telegraph Magazine.