Nigel Farage has quashed speculation that he was considering joining the DUP.
The former Ukip leader is due at an event hosted by the pro-Brexit Northern Ireland unionists in Ballymena in Co Antrim on Friday evening.
DUP MP Ian Paisley has dismissed “media fever” over the issue and said he would be discussing the EU withdrawal and its aftermath with the MEP.
Happy to be on my way to Northern Ireland having worked with the DUP in the referendum.
I was elected as a UKIP MEP. I lead the EFDD group in Europarl and none of that is going to change!— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) May 11, 2018
Mr Farage said: “I will be remaining Ukip MEP.
“I have shared platforms with Labour MP Kate Hoey, Tory minister Liam Fox and other people like George Galloway.
“I am happy to support those who supported the Leave campaign during the Brexit referendum.
“My visit is nothing more than that.”
The Democratic Unionists’ 10 MPs are supporting Theresa May’s minority Government at Westminster.
A series of senior Conservatives have already visited Northern Ireland at the DUP’s invitation.
Looking forward to welcoming my great friend @Nigel_Farage to my North Antrim constituency tonight to talk about Brexit and Beyond. I notice the media fever over this already. I welcome many guests from many parties to North Antrim and Nigel will love the place and it's people.— Ian Paisley MP (@ianpaisleymp) May 11, 2018
Mr Paisley tweeted: “Looking forward to welcoming my great friend @Nigel_Farage to my North Antrim constituency tonight to talk about Brexit and Beyond.
“I notice the media fever over this already. I welcome many guests from many parties to North Antrim and Nigel will love the place and it’s people.”
A DUP spokesman said: “Nigel Farage will be the guest speaker at a local DUP event in County Antrim.
“Mr Farage has already indicated this trip is not about joining the DUP.”
In any event, under DUP rules you cannot be a member of the party unless you live in Northern Ireland, the spokesman added.
Earlier, Arron Banks, who bankrolled Ukip, was asked during an interview on Sky News if Mr Farage would use the DUP to run for Parliament.
He said all things were possible in politics.
Mr Farage visited Northern Ireland several times when he was leader of Ukip.
A branch of Ukip in Northern Ireland was set up under former Ulster Unionist David McNarry but it has failed to establish itself as a one of the main parties.
Mr Farage encouraged the Republic of Ireland to “Irexit” from the EU during a speech in Dublin recently.
Ukip has slid in the polls across the UK following the Brexit referendum and has no MPs.
- Press Association