Nigel Farage today revealed he will stand to be an MP – calling it ‘his duty’ – as his Brexit Party looks set to thrash the Tories into fifth place in the upcoming EU elections.
The former UKIP leader also admitted he would be willing to prop up the next Conservative leader to make them Prime Minister in the event of a hung Parliament – but only if they agree to leave the EU with No Deal on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms.
He told LBC today: ‘I’m going to have to [stand] of course. It’s a duty. We cannot ever allow again a great democratic exercise like this to be railroaded aside by career politicians of the Labour and Tory parties’.
Mr Farage, who last stood in South Thanet in 2015 but lost to the Tories -his seventh failed attempt at getting into Parliament – has not said the constituency he would target.
But perhaps significantly he was speaking today during a visit to Pontefract, West Yorkshire, part of Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s constituency, where 70 per cent voted to leave the EU and he said Jeremy Corbyn’s party ‘is vulnerable in the most extraordinary way’.
Asked whether he’d do a deal with the Tories if elected, he said: ‘If we can save £39billion, come out of the Customs Union, come out of the Single Market, come out of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and be a genuinely independent, self-governing democracy that can choose its own future, I’d do a deal with the devil to get that’.
This would put the Prime Minister’s party in fifth place behind the Greens and the Liberal Democrats, who were on 15 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.
The collapse in support for the Conservative Party is piling pressure on Mrs May to set a date for her departure from No 10 – but Labour is also down five points on 16 per cent, with confusion over their Brexit position continuing.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and star candidate Ann Widdecombe wave placards at a European Parliament election campaign event in Pontefract, where he confirmed he will stand to be an MP at the next general election
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage poses for a selfie with a member of the public during a ‘walkabout’ campaigning for the European Parliament election in Pontefract today
Theresa May (pictured today speaking to a domestic violence survivor at Advance Charity offices in West London) is under increasing pressure to name the date she will leave No 10 as she faces another bruising in the polls
Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the Brexiteer European Research Group of Tories, appealed for disillusioned Conservatives to stick with the party for the sake of Theresa May’s replacement
Nigel Farage takes aim at ‘vulnerable’ Labour in Yvette Cooper’s Yorkshire seat
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage poses during a ‘walkabout’ campaigning for the European Parliament election in Pontefract today
Nigel Farage has said that the Labour party is ‘vulnerable in the most extraordinary way’ in Leave areas in the north of England.
The Brexit Party leader was speaking during a visit to Pontefract, West Yorkshire, part of Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s constituency, where 70% of voters voted to leave the EU.
Mr Farage said he had seen a lot of anger and passion in Labour Leave areas in northern towns, as he toured the UK ahead of next week’s European election.
He said: ‘The passion seems even stronger in Labour Leave areas than in Conservative Leave areas.
‘Whether that’s because people in the north of England wear their hearts on their sleeves more, I don’t know.’
Mr Farage spoke to members of the public who told him that they were usually Labour voters, but would be voting for the Brexit Party in the forthcoming election.
He said: ‘It’s areas like this where I think the Labour party is vulnerable in the most extraordinary way.’
He continued: ‘This is a 70% Leave constituency, these five towns voted Leave by a massive margin.
‘You’ve got a member of Parliament who, at the general election a year later, promised to honour the result, and has spent the last two years, effectively, trying to stop Brexit from happening.
‘So there is real anger in these places, and we focus on the Conservatives being in real trouble over the EU issue.
‘In the north of England, Labour are in very big trouble too.’
Mr Farage said the option of a confirmatory referendum was an ‘outrage’ and would lead to a change in British politics if implemented.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the Brexiteer European Research Group of Tories, appealed for disillusioned Conservatives to stick with the party for the sake of Theresa May’s replacement.
He said he wants a new leader, adding: ‘I would appeal to their loyalty, to their tradition and to say that the Conservative Party will get a new leader at some point. We have gone from 40 per cent to 10 per cent in the polls and those are Eurosceptics. It is forgetting about them that is destroying the Tory party’s vote’.
He told LBC Radio: ‘We want that new leader to have a base on which he or she can build and if we find that we are getting under 15 per cent of the vote, if we are coming fifth behind the Greens, then it will be harder for that figure to rebuild.’
Nigel Farage is campaigning in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, today where members of the public asked him for selfies and hugged him.
Asked about the latest polling he said: ‘If the Brexit Party comes out on top in a few weeks’ time, what I’m demanding then is we must have a place at the negotiating table. We are now due to leave on October 31, if millions vote for us, they deserve a say’.
And in a message for Mrs May he told TalkRadio: ‘If you ignore us then we will take you on at the Peterborough by election and the general election’.
He also refused to say if he would meet Donald Trump in June but hinted he could be stopped by No 10.
He said: ‘The last time he came to the UK one of the Government’s red lines was that he couldn’t meet me’.
Mr Rees-Mogg acknowledged that the European elections ‘look as though they will be difficult’ and people were ‘very enthusiastic’ about the Brexit Party, whose candidates include Mr Rees-Mogg’s sister Annunziata, calling her an ‘outstanding candidate in the wrong party’.
He said: ‘The opinion polls are far from promising for the Conservatives for the European elections. You have to ask yourself ‘why should Conservatives go out.
‘The truth is that people like me will vote Conservative because we are loyal Conservatives who will support the party in any election.
‘But many Conservatives, people who have been members for decades, feel this is a two-pronged opportunity – one, to say why haven’t we left? And the other to say ‘we are not entirely convinced by the current leadership’.
‘And people feel that if they vote Conservative they will be saying they are accepting Mrs May’s deal and Mrs May’s leadership.
‘Many Conservatives, most Conservatives, want to leave the EU and would prefer to leave on WTO terms, the so-called no-deal exit, and therefore they don’t feel that they should go out and support the Tories on this occasion’.
Mr Rees-Mogg said the shock opinion poll for The Times is a damning indictment of the current Tory Prime Minister and her cabinet.
He said: ‘The results look like they will be difficult. We have lost three quarters of our voters – down from 40 per cent to 10 per cent – because of Brexit’.
People will treat the upcoming European elections as an opportunity for the ‘ultimate protest vote’ on Brexit, the Education Secretary said yesterday.
Damian Hinds admitted this month’s vote will be difficult for the Conservatives after a poll showed support for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is higher than that for Labour and the Tories put together.
The Opinium survey for the Observer placed the party on course for a thumping victory on 34 per cent, when people were asked how they intended to vote in the European elections on May 23.
This was more than both Labour and the Tories combined, with Labour slipping to 21 per cent and the Tories on just 11 per cent. The Remain-backing Liberal Democrats were on 12 per cent.
The results – which suggest support for the Tories at the European elections is now less than a third of that of Mr Farage’s party – will make grim reading for Theresa May, who is being blamed for failing to get a Brexit deal through Parliament.
In terms of voting intentions in the next general election, the same poll put Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party out in front on 28 per cent.
This was followed by the Conservatives on 22 per cent, with the Brexit Party close behind on 21 per cent.
A separate survey found the Brexit Party has overtaken the Tories in national polling for the first time, with Mr Farage projected to win 49 seats in a general election.
The Brexit Party is enjoying a growing lead in a new EU election poll with the Tories now in fifth
The Tories and Labour are neck and neck if there was a general election tomorrow, a poll has found
Nigel Farage, pictured in West Yoprkshire today, is set to clear up at the May 23 elections
The ComRes poll found that the Tories would be on course for their worst result in history if a general election campaign led by Theresa May took place now.
According to the survey, some 46 Tories would lose their seats to the Brexit Party, including Brandon Lewis, the party chairman, and Penny Mordaunt, the new Defence Secretary.
The polls follow disastrous council elections, in which Mrs May oversaw the loss of nearly 1,300 Tory councillors, and come ahead of a predicted wipeout in the European elections.
A poll surge, but six in ten doubt it will last
As two polls show massive surges for the Brexit Party, a third survey, by YouGOV, shows most people don’t think the party will last.
YouGov revealed 63% of people thought the Brexit Party would ‘probably not be a force in British politics in 10 years’, compared to 13% who thought it was here to stay.
Similarly 56% thought Change UK would disappear over the next decade, with just one in 10 believing it will ‘likely remain an important part of British politics’.
Three in ten people doubted Labour or the Tories would continue to exist in 10 years.
And just under half, 45%, thinking the Lib Dems were here to stay.
YouGov political research manager Chris Curtis said: ‘The data shows the public aren’t yet convinced that these newer forces will become a permanent feature in British politics.’
Two ministers yesterday sought to downplay the significance of the upcoming European elections, saying they would be an ‘opinion poll on Brexit’ rather than a verdict on the Tory party as a whole.
Mr Hinds told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme: ‘I don’t think anyone is in any doubt these are going to be difficult elections for us – that much has been clear from the very start.
‘For some people this is the ultimate protest vote opportunity. Actually, ironically this is, in a sense, for some people, this is the second referendum.’
New Prisons Minister Robert Buckland said he was not alarmed by the recent poll, despite the possibility of losing his seat.
In his first interview since being promoted, he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday show: ‘I’ve always had a marginal seat… I’ve never been complacent about my politics.’
Asked about the upcoming European elections, he said: ‘Well look, I think we’re living through some pretty extraordinary times.
‘This European election which frankly nobody wanted or nobody expected is going to be in my view a giant opinion poll as to the merits of Brexit.
‘Whilst I don’t think mainstream politicians can ignore or disregard the frustration of the electorate, and it is very clear that there is a great degree of frustration, the question is what are we going to do about it?’
Mr Farage said there had been a breakdown in trust between people and politicians.
Elections for 73 MEPs to the European Parliament will take place on May 23. The UK had been due to leave the EU on March 29, but the deadline was pushed back to October 31 after Parliament was unable to agree a way forward.
Meanwhile, a YouGov poll revealed most Britons believe the Brexit Party and Change UK will ‘fade’ from British politics within a decade.
Some 63 per cent of participants believed Brexit Party would disappear from politics within 10 years, and 56 per cent thought the same of Change UK.