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Nigel Farage has launched his new Brexit Party - and there'll be a Rees-Mogg on the ballot

Not that one though … Jacob’s sister Annunziata Rees-Mogg is running for the new party.

Farage with Annunziata Rees-Mogg.
Farage with Annunziata Rees-Mogg.
Image: Joe Giddens

FORMER UKIP LEADER Nigel Farage has launched his new Brexit Party, and announced he has a list of 70 candidates set to run for the outfit in next month’s European elections. 

In the wake of the late night deal struck by Theresa May and the leaders of the 27 remaining EU nations in Brussels this week, the UK must hold elections in May or face crashing out of the EU without a deal on 1 June. 

Farage is hoping to capitalise on disillusionment among supporters of the Conservative party after the prime minister failed to meet a series of deadlines she had set herself to exit the EU.

“I genuinely believe right now this nation, we are lions led by donkeys,” Farage told his  Coventry launch event. 

We can win these European elections and… start to put the fear of God into our members of parliament in Westminster – they deserve nothing less.

Farage, one of the leaders of the 2016 leave movement, quit UKIP in December saying the party had become too extreme. 

Writing in The Daily Telegraph at the time, Farage said the “obsession” the current UKIP leadership has with Tommy Robinson and fixation with the issue of Islam “makes UKIP unrecognisable to many of us”. 

Robinson, the former English Defence League leader, has been appointed an adviser to UKIP and there’s speculation he could have some role in the party’s Euro campaign. 

Annunziata Rees-Mogg, the sister of Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg and a former Telegraph journalist, is to run as a candidate for Farage’s new party. 

Speaking today, she said that while she had stuck with the Conservatives through thick and thin, “We’ve got to rescue our democracy, we have got to show that the people of this country have a say in how we are run”. 

Farage said in a BBC radio interview earlier that there was no difference between his new party and his former one in terms of policy – but that there was in terms of personnel. UKIP’s brand had become tarnished, he insisted, because it had “allowed the far right to join it and effectively take it over”. 

Responding on Twitter, current UKIP leader Gerard Batten insisted that Farage’s new party was just a vehicle for him and “not a teal [sic] political party”. 

Farage has been forced to concede there have been, as he described them, “teething problems” in his nascent political party.

The previous leader resigned last month after a series of anti-Islam tweets came to light, while another senior official was removed from his post, also due to the emergence of offensive social media posts (including one referring to a foreigner as “someone from a bingo bongo land”).

Speaking earlier today Farage said the party was going to be going to be “deeply intolerant of all forms of intolerance”. 

At the launch, he said its first task would be to change politics, warning: “I said that if I did come back into the political fray it would be no more Mr Nice Guy and I mean it.”

The European elections offer newer parties in the UK a rare chance to grab the national limelight and capitalise, in particular, on the woes of the Conservatives.

An outfit called The Renew Party kicked off its campaign by promising to give a voice to “people from outside politics” who still view themselves as Europeans and believers in causes such as fighting climate change.

It said it was “ready to speak up for disenfranchised voters who cannot rely on the Conservative and Labour parties”.

The Tories meanwhile will have to face supporters frustrated by the party’s inability to lead the way on the biggest issue to face Britain in generations.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay admitted last week that “asking the public to hold elections for an organisation we are meant to have left would damage trust in politics”.

For Labour, the fact that the party includes both Brexiters and remainers could cause campaign problems and split voters.  

Anand Menon, European politics professor at King’s College London, said: “It is hard to imagine a worse time for Labour and the (Conservatives) to face the only UK-wide proportional electoral contest.

These elections could accelerate the fragmentation of a fragile two-party stalemate, providing an institutional foothold for new parties forged on the issue of Europe. 

Includes reporting from © – AFP 2019

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Daragh Brophy

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