6 December 2019 | UK NEWS
It has emerged yesterday morning that four Brexit Party MEPs have left the party following disagreements around Nigel Farage’s election strategy. The MEPs in question are John Longworth, Annunziata Rees-Mogg, Lucy Harris and Lance Forman.
The first of these, Mr Longworth, had had the party whip withdrawn on Wednesday after the party accused him of “repeatedly undermining” its leader’s Brexit strategy. However, Wolves understands that he remained a member of the party until today.
Mr Longworth joined the other three MEPs for a press conference at 11:30am yesterday morning to discuss their reasons for leaving the party. During the event, all four advocated backing Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in order to ensure a successful Brexit through a Conservative majority in Parliament. Ms Reeg-Mogg said that the Brexit Party was now “putting Brexit itself at risk”.
She added: “If you look at the very tight margins in so many of the seats with forecast polls, but also the feeling around the country if you talk to people, that is risking Brexit. Those changes in voting patterns, those votes that will not go to the Conservative Party – which is the only party with the chance of winning many seats, that wants to deliver Brexit – that’s risking Brexit entirely.”
Mr Longworth said that while Boris Johnson’s deal was “not perfect”, it was “definitely Brexit”, adding that his former party had “adopted entirely the wrong policy because they have simply focused on withdrawing from Conservative seats. I’ve got a list I drew up myself – West Bromwich East, West Bromwich West, Pontefract and Castleford, Durham North West, Peterborough, Darlington, Derby South, Derby North, Lincoln, Colne Valley, Bolton North East – I would say those seats are all at risk when the Conservatives can win. Crazy.”
During the hour-long event, Ms Harris said: “I am sad to leave many good Brexit Party people behind and resign the Brexit Party whip. Many of them are worthy candidates and incredibly accomplished people.” But she added that: “Under the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system, it is clear that there is only one way to guarantee that Jeremy Corbyn cannot reverse Brexit and unleash his Marxist nightmare on the country – and that is by voting for a Conservative majority government to keep him out.”
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage responded by saying: “Whilst we are disappointed that four of our MEPs don’t seem to understand that we both saved the Conservative Party from large scale losses to the Liberal Democrats in the south and south west of England, but we are also hammering the Labour Leave vote in its traditional heartlands, making it much easier for the Conservatives to win many of those seats. The only vote on the Leave side that is currently being split is in areas such as Barnsley, the South Wales Valleys, Doncaster and Hartlepool, where there is a risk that the Tories will split our vote.”
In his interview with Andrew Neil tonight, Mr Farage also said: “One of them is the sister of a Cabinet Minister, another one has a boyfriend working for that Cabinet Minister, and another one is a personal friend of Boris Johnson’s.” When Mr Neil referred to these remarks as “smears”, Mr Farage responded that they were “facts”.
We will bring you further updates on Brexit Party developments over the course of this election campaign as they come in.