Nigel Farage has only just launched his new ‘Brexit’ Party, but it’s already becoming a force in UK politics, attracting some Tory defectors, including the sister of European Research Group leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, one of the leading Brexiteers.
The Brexit party is fortunate to have such a high calibre candidate but I am sorry that Annunziata has left the Conservative party.https://t.co/ngzjaVHXEB
— Jacob Rees-Mogg (@Jacob_Rees_Mogg) April 12, 2019
Prominent Conservative Party fundraiser Richard Tice has agreed to become the chairman of the party as it gears up for EU Parliamentary elections.
I’ve been a lifelong member of the Conservative Party.
But like many I’ve concluded that enough is enough.
We cannot, we must not, and we will not allow this shambles in Westminster to continue. We can do much, much better.
That’s why I’ve agreed to Chair the @brexitparty_uk
— Richard Tice (@TiceRichard) April 12, 2019
Farage officially launched the party during an event in Coventry on Friday that was well-attended.
BREXIT PARTY LAUNCH – LIVE https://t.co/281y7qzHaI
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) April 12, 2019
During an interview before the event, Farage introduced the new party as a ‘mirror’ of UKIP on policies, but without what he described as the Islamophobic, far-right faction.
Farage, who has been credited as one of the godfathers of Brexit, left UKIP, the party that he helped create and build into a force on the right of British politics, claiming that the party had been taken over by racists and Islamophobes and that its brand was now ‘tarnished’.
He promised the Brexit Party would be “deeply intolerant of all intolerance” and would represent a cross-section of society.
“In terms of policy, there’s no difference (to UKIP), but in terms of personnel there is a vast difference.”
“UKIP did struggle to get enough good people into it but unfortunately what it’s chosen to do is allow the far right to join it and take it over and I’m afraid the brand is now tarnished.”
With Parliament on recess until April 23, Farage apparently timed the party launch so as to grab maximum media coverage. When it came his turn to speak at the launch, Farage again called for a “Democratic revolution” to ensure that the outcome of the Brexit referendum is honored, and once again “start to put the fear of god into our MPs.” He also declared that the Brexit Party wouldn’t be taking donations from Aaron Banks, a millionaire mining mogul who helped to bankroll UKIP and was recently the target of an extensive investigative report published by the New Yorker that delved into suspicions that Banks helped launder foreign money – specifically, from Russia – into the Brexit campaign.
“The brand is now tarnished” – Nigel Farage attacks his old party, UKIP, for allowing the far right to join – saying his new Brexit Party will put “competence back into British politics”https://t.co/38cIQbBDC3 @BBCr4today pic.twitter.com/fpPaf0JqoJ
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) April 12, 2019
The Brexit party already has 70 candidates to stand in the European elections, which are expected to begin on May 23.
In response to UKIP leader Gerard Batten rebutted Farage’s claims about the Brexit Party being a mirror image of UKIP, arguing that UKIP has “a manifesto and policies” while the Brexit Party is just a “vehicle” for Farage. But if the party wins at least a few seats in the EU Parliament, it would likely join with the growing populist coalition being organized by Italy’s Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, helping to establish a powerful eurosceptic bloc in the legislature.