Nigel Farage demanded the Conservative Party stand aside and give it a free run in Labour seats today, saying only the Brexit Party could stop Jeremy Corbyn.
He told a rally that his new party was ‘not a protest movement’ as he unveiled the party’s first 100 candidates to stand at any snap general election.
And he took a swipe at Tory leadership favourite Boris Johnson – likely to be the next prime minister, saying ‘you can try if you want but I will not be put back in my box’.
After being introduced to a crowd of more than 5,000 in Birmingham carrying Brexit Party glowsticks, with an air raid siren booming out he tore into Labour.
He said: ‘There are many seats in the country, especially Labour-held seats, where we are the main challenger.
‘If you vote Tory you will get Corbyn and you should stand aside for the Brexit Party, who can beat him in these constituencies.’
Mr Farage appealed to the Tories, saying: ‘If you vote Tory you will get Corbyn and you should stand aside for the Brexit Party, who can beat him in these constituencies’
Mr Farage’s entrance was heralded by a crowd of around 5,000 people waving glowsticks in Brexit Party turquoise, as an air raid siren played blared out
The election candidates were paraded before the audience at the Big Vision Rally in by Annunziata Rees-Mogg, a former Tory who is now a Brexit Party MEP.
I can make Brexit happen before Boris and will accept No Deal with a ‘heavy heart’, says Hunt
The Foreign Secretary played-up his deal making abilities saying he was best placed to go to Brussels and get a deal that would be approved by Parliament.
Reiterating his backing for a No Deal Brexit on October 31 – unless a deal was very close to completion – he warned ‘if we don’t do what the people tell us to do we are not a democracy’.
Appearing on the BBC‘s Andrew Marr show he attacked the ‘fake debate’ over the Halloween deadline to quit the EU, saying: ‘I believe we’ll leave sooner with me than with Boris or anyone else because I am the person most likely to negotiate a deal – and that is the quickest way to leave.
‘What you’re saying is something that’s a dilemma. Parliament is trying to stop a no-deal Brexit, they succeeded before, they may succeed again – that is an issue that will face any prime minister, whatever they’ve said about October 31.
‘The quickest way to leave the EU is to choose a prime minister who can actually get us a deal that can get through Parliament, and if you want a deal done ask a business person.’
At a flashy event which seemed more like a darts or boxing match atmosphere she warned that the party wanted to shake up Westminster.
‘MPs sitting in their offices in the Westminster bubble should be scared, she said.
‘We are not the same old, same, old.’
The unveiling of a group including teachers, civil engineers, economists and a forklift truck driver came as rumours continue to circulate that the country may head to the polls in the autumn as the Tory government seeks to complete Brexit.
Party chairman Richard Tice told the crowd the party would have 650 candidates ready to stand by the time the Tories finished with ‘the blond and the bland’ – a jibe at Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt’s leadership campaign.
He said: ‘We want to be the biggest party in Westminster. That is what today is about, we have to keep heading forward.’
Mr Tice also revealed that the party would reject a traditional party conference in September in favour of 11 regional rallies.
The party unhveiled plans for an astonishing £200billion to transform the British regions in the largest investment since the war as Mr Farage set his sights on the heart of Government.
The bold plan includes rebuilding the transport system, free broadband for all homes and scrapping interest payments on student loans.
It plans to fund the monster cash injection in areas outside London by refusing to send Brussels the £39billion Brexit ‘divorce bill’, scrapping the £14billion foreign aid budget and abandoning the £100billion HS2 high-speed rail project.
But that would still leave the party needing to find an extra £47billion from other sources.
Mr Farage’s party also has yet to win a Westminster seat but has heavily cut into Tory support as the party fights itself over Brexit and seeks a new leader.
Annunziata Rees-Mogg, a former Tory who is now a Brexit Party MEP, said: ‘MPs sitting in their offices in the Westminster bubble should be scared’
Party chairman Richard Tice told the crowd: ‘We want to be the biggest party in Westminster. That is what today is about, we have to keep heading forward’
More than 100 Brexit Party election candidates were unveiled in Birmingham today ahead of a possible autumn general election
Mr Farage told the Sunday Express: ‘For years now, London has thrived while the rest of the country has been left behind.
That’s why the Brexit Party will carry out the largest regional investment since the end of the Second World War, using the Brexit dividend to invest in the rest.
‘Labour has become the party of North London, not the North of England, and the European election results show that the Labour heartlands have become the Brexit heartlands.
‘They say it’s a postcode lottery, but a lottery only works if everybody has the same chance of winning. How can it be a lottery if there is no chance of winning?’
Boris Johnson today raised the spectre of shutting down Parliament to prevent MPs from blocking a No Deal Brexit today as the Tories fear defeat by the Brexit Party.
Mr Farage, pictured at the Cricket World Cup at Lords last week, said: ‘For years now, London has thrived while the rest of the country has been left behind’
He added: ‘Labour has become the party of North London, not the North of England, and the European election results show that the Labour heartlands have become the Brexit heartlands’
Mr Johnson said: ‘I don’t like the idea of proroguing, I’m not remotely attracted to it but MPs have to understand their responsibility to get this thing done’
Asked about proroguing Parliament to push through Brexit, Mr Johnson told Sky’s Ridge on Sunday that MPs need to ‘understand the gravity of the situation and behave with responsibility’ before adding: ‘I don’t like the idea of proroguing, I’m not remotely attracted to it but MPs have to understand their responsibility to get this thing done and that was by far the best solution.
‘I don’t want to prorogue Parliament nor do I expect to, I don’t think that’s going to be necessary, and I think that its’s far more important that MPs focus on where we are because politics has changed since March 29 and people can see than unless we get Brexit done there is going to be a continuing haemorrhage of trust and of confidence in my party and Labour as well.’
Union chief Len McCluskey blasts ‘well-funded’ Remainers over ‘toxic’ Brexit situation and tells MPs to give Jeremy Corbyn room to work amid confusion over party’s attitude to a second referendum
Union kingpin Len McCluskey attacked the ‘well-funded Remain lobby’ today saying it was as responsible as the Tories for creating a ‘toxic situation’ over Brexit.
The Unite boss said that he would back a second referendum – but only on a Labour deal to Leave – after it won power in a general election.
Mr McCluskey, a close associate of party leader Jeremy Corbym, said that the party needed to give him time to work amid a growing clamour over its Brexit strategy.
Although he said he would back Remain rather than a No Deal Brexit, he told the BBC‘s Marr that he wanted ‘a Brexit that respects the result of the referendum but actually does so with an agreement that the 48 per cent who want to Remain would be happy with.’
He said: ‘There seems to be a panic to rush in order to establish a different position from one the Labour Party has had for a couple of years now, which is respecting the result of the 2016 referendum and trying to negotiate a deal which would unite the nation.
‘Unfortunately we have had a prime minister who has made huge mistakes and a government which has been incapable of delivering Brexit.
‘And we have had a well-funded Remain lobby that has turned the nation into a toxic situation.’
Unite leader Len McCluskey said there was ‘no panic to do anything’ on Brexit immediately as he urged the party to give Corbyn time
The union kingpin added he wanted ‘a Brexit that respects the result of the referendum but actually does so with an agreement that the 48 per cent who want to Remain would be happy with’
He added: ‘There is no panic to do anything. We’ve got a policy conference coming up in less than 12 weeks, let Jeremy Corbyn consult.
‘Jeremy’s done ok so far, let’s trust him to consult and see what emerges.’
Mr Corbyn last week deferred a decision on whether to back a second referendum by two weeks.
Labour’s shadow cabinet had been due to agree a position at a meeting last Wednesday but he postponed it to have further discussions with trade union leaders.
Some like Mr McCluskey back Leave and along with MPs in Labour seats that backed Brexit are pushing back at attempts to line the party up behind a second referendum.
Labour MP David Lammy hit back at Mr McCluskey today. The People’s Vote backer said: ‘Anyone urging Jeremy to delay this decision for another 12 weeks is not asking him to demonstrate leadership, they are asking him to continue with a can-kicking strategy that has already seen millions of people turn away from Labour.
‘Further dithering will not only harm our party’s chances in the next election but harm our communities and our country too.
‘As Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt vie against each other to offer the 0.25 per cent of the UK who are Conservative Party members the hardest possible Brexit, the people are crying out for strong and principled opposition.
‘Now is the time for Labour to act – and do it fast.’
Deputy leader Tom Watson and shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer are spearheading attempts by Labour Remainers to push the party in behind a new vote amid concerns that the next Tory leader will push for a No Deal Brexit.
Mr Watson has said that it would be ‘history making’ if the party explicitly backed supporting a vote to remain in the European Union in a new referendum.
Labour has already indicated that any deal should be put to a public vote and Mr Watson has warned the party would be ‘electoral history’ if it did not make it clear it supports Remain.
Mr McDonnell said the discussion was about the ‘attitude’ Labour should take and Jeremy Corbyn had given trade unions more time to decide
Shifting Labour’s stance to full support of Remain and a second referendum is taking longer than expected, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has told Sky’s Sophy Ridge.
Mr McDonnell said the discussion was about the ‘attitude’ Labour should take and Jeremy Corbyn had given trade unions more time to decide.
He said: ‘(Jeremy) had a meeting on the Monday before the last shadow cabinet and I thought the next day we were going to move forward.
‘The unions asked for a bit more time and I don’t mind that – that’s the type of leader Jeremy is, he is a consensus builder.’