Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith says local Conservative associations could boycott the EU elections if the UK is still a part of the bloc next month.
The Chingford and Woodford Green MP slammed the Conservative leadership for not following through on its promise to leave on March 29, calling it a ‘disaster’ for party support.
Mr Duncan Smith said the elections are ‘impossible to justify’. He ridiculed the notion of campaigning for the May 23 election while at the same time saying British MEPs won’t exist in a few months.
The Brexiteer has suggested this morning that Tories could stay at home amid opposition to the EU elections
He asked Sophy Ridge on Sky News: ‘What are you going to say on the doorstep? Vote for me and Ill be gone in three months?’
It follows Boris Johnson branding the elections ‘ridiculous’. After months of wrangling over how to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland, Mr Duncan Smith said Brussels knows full well an Irish backstop cannot work and should be scrapped.
He suggested that Theresa May’s extending of the withdrawal process could kill off the Conservatives at the polls, saying ‘extension is death’ after the UK was given six more months to negotiate its exit.
It comes as polling puts Nigel Farage’s newly formed Brexit Party as having the third largest share of the vote, with Labour ahead of the Tories.
Jeremy Corbyn is pictured cycling through Islington, North London, today as Labour poll ahead of the Conservative Party
The Brexit Party is tipped to hold 15 per cent of EU Election voting intention share just days after its formation. If a general election was called now, ardently pro-Leave parties would be the country’s third largest political force with 14 per cent of the vote if a general election was held today.
An Electoral Calculus poll of polls, including 8,561 people spoken to between April 2 and 11, found that Labour would become the largest party in the Commons, winning 296 seats to the Conservatives’ 259 if a vote was held.
Change UK – a breakaway group of MPs who are campaigning for a second referendum – are polling at seven per cent.
The arch-Leaver told a packed auditorium in Birmingham at the party’s first rally that ‘we are lions being led by donkeys’ as he tried to galvanise his supporters before expected European Parliament contests next month.
And the former Ukip leader, who has since turned his back on the party for ‘lacking good people’, tore into the government for its handling of Britain’s departure and also prominent Remainers for refusing to honour the referendum result.
He said: ‘I find myself standing here today in my sixth European election campaign.
‘I shouldn’t be here, you shouldn’t be here, this shouldn’t be happening, we should have left the European Union.
‘But I’m damned if after 25 years I’m going to roll over and let these politicians do this to us! So let’s fight back! Let’s fight back! We won’t stand for it! We won’t stand for it!’
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage (right) holds up placards with party chairman Richard Tice (left) during the first public rally of their European Parliament election campaign in Birmingham
Supporters gather in a hall at the Birmingham ICC at 2pm today for the first rally event, after Farage visited the city’s Bullring Indoor Market
He also hit back at claims that Brexit has divided the nation and instead blamed fractures on the ‘political class’ who he claims are ignoring the 2016 vote.
To a chorus of deafening boos which Mr Farage said he ‘enjoyed’, he directly accused former deputy prime minister Sir Nick Clegg and ex-prime minister Tony Blair of refusing to respect the Leave result.
His explosive intervention comes a day after Jacob Rees-Mogg’s sister Annunziata, was the party’s first star MEP candidate – after she quit the Tories after 35 years.
European Parliament elections are likely to happen in the UK on May 23 after Theresa May secured an extension to Britain’s departure deadline until October 31.