Injured Euro lawmaker loses British election fight

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Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage lost his bid for a British parliament seat Friday, and had to hear the results in hospital after being injured in a light-plane crash on polling day.

Farage, an outspoken member of the European Parliament (MEP) for UKIP, had challenged House of Commons speaker John Bercow in Buckingham in southern England, but came third in the contest with 8,401 votes.

He was still being treated in hospital following Thursday's crash, when a light aircraft carrying him and pilot Justin Adams plunged to the ground after the UKIP election banner it was dragging became entangled in the plane.

"We've both had a miraculous escape. We are both very lucky to be alive," Farage said in a statement released late Thursday by his spokesman.

Farage had walked away from the crash but was bloodied and shaken, and television pictures showed the plane tipped upside down and the cockpit completely destroyed. Adams is in a stable condition in hospital.

UKIP leader Malcolm Pearson said Farage, who broke two ribs and damaged his spine and sternum in the crash, was "back to something like his normal form", adding: "It is clear that both men had a remarkably lucky escape."

Farage, 46, gained notoriety when he said the European Union's new president Herman Van Rompuy had the "charisma of a damp rag" and the appearance of a "low-grade bank clerk." His comments earned him an EU fine.

© 2010 AFP

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