Tue. Apr 23rd, 2019

European elections: Nigel Farage launches Brexit Party

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Nigel Farage Reuters

Ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said his new Brexit Party has similar policies to his old party but there is a “vast difference” in personnel.

He said the party’s European election candidates were mainly business people and “high achievers who want to put the confidence back into British politics”.

Mr Farage said UKIP had allowed the far right to take over and that “the brand is now tarnished”.

But UKIP leader Gerard Batten called Mr Farage’s comments “a lie”.

The Brexit Party will be officially launched in Coventry later.

It comes after Prime Minister Theresa May agreed a Brexit delay to 31 October with the EU, with the option of leaving earlier if her withdrawal agreement is approved by Parliament.

This means the UK is likely to have to hold European Parliament elections on 23 May.

Mr Farage told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he thought the European elections would definitely take place and at the moment the UK was being “talked down to and bullied and becoming a laughing stock in the eyes of the world”.

He said he was “determined to make sure the referendum result is enacted”.

The party had already received £750,000 online over 10 days, he said, made up of small donations of up to £500.

“In terms of policy, there’s no difference (to UKIP), but in terms of personnel there is a vast difference,” Mr Farage said.

“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.”

He promised the Brexit Party would be “deeply intolerant of all intolerance” and would represent a cross-section of society. He fully expected to field Muslim candidates, he said.

When asked about former Brexit Party leader Catherine Blaiklock, who quit over what he said were “horrible and intolerant” comments on Twitter about Islam, he said she was “an administrator”.

He said: “I set the party up. She was the administrator that got it set up.”

Mr Batten tweeted: “UKIP has a manifesto and policies. Farage’s party is just a vehicle for him.”

He said the Brexit Party’s “only purpose is to re-elect him (Mr Farage)” and is a “Tory/Establishment safety valve”.

Nigel Farage launches Brexit Party

Ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said his new Brexit Party has similar policies to his old party but there is a “vast difference” in personnel. He said the party’s European election candidates were mainly business people and “high achievers who want to put the confidence back into British politics”.

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