Farage plots to launch new pro-Leave party af­ter Ukip im­plo­sion

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Harry Cole

NIGEL FARAGE is set to launch a new pro-Leave political party af­ter last week’s dra­matic im­plo­sion of Ukip and to­day vows to fight in the next EU elec­tions if Brexit is de­layed.

The Brexit cham­pion led a walk-out of ma­jor fig­ures from Ukip in protest at its ‘new BNP’ stance, af­ter dra­mat­i­cally warn­ing the party’s em­bat­tled leader Ger­ard Bat­ten in this news­pa­per that Ukip must ditch its re­la­tion­ship with anti-Is­lam ac­tivist Tommy Robin­son.

Mr Farage took with him a slew of se­nior Ukip fig­ures, in­clud­ing ex-boss Paul Nut­tall and Scot­tish leader David Coburn, both fel­low Members of the Euro­pean Parliament with Farage.

Now Farage and his col­leagues are plot­ting to set up a new party to de­fend Brexit at a pos­si­ble sec­ond ref­er­en­dum or if a Gen­eral Elec­tion is sparked by the dead­lock in West­min­ster.

A source said: ‘Nigel led one party from noth­ing to be­come the first to win a na­tion­wide elec­tion since 1906 that was not Labour or Tory, in the 2014 Euro­pean elec­tions. He could do it again.’

And they hope to ‘drive a wedge’ be­tween di­vided Con­ser­va­tives, lur­ing over hard Brexit MPs dis­il­lu­sioned by Theresa May’s deal.

Mr Farage vowed to fight in next May’s Euro­pean elec­tions un­der the ban­ner of his as yet un­named party if the two-year Ar­ti­cle 50 EU divorce process is ex­tended be­yond next March.

He told The Mail on Sun­day: ‘My view is that, be­tween now and Christ­mas, Ar­ti­cle 50 will be ex­tended. Is there a lot of con­ver­sa­tion about what then hap­pens? Yes. If the Brexit ball is dropped com­pletely, it will have to hap­pen.’

He added: ‘Look, I make this ab­so­lutely clear, if they sus­pend Ar­ti­cle 50 and we fight in the next Euro­pean elec­tions, I will be there.’

But Mr Farage in­sisted he did not want to have to be an MEP any longer than nec­es­sary, ad­ding: ‘I can’t wait to leave. I’ve been there 19 years and eight months on Brexit Day. That is a hell of a long time.’

It is un­der­stood Mr Farage is look­ing to use the cam­paign group Leave Means Leave as a launch­pad for his fledg­ling move­ment.

On Fri­day, Leave Means Leave boss Richard Tice said his group were al­ready fundrais­ing for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum, telling the BBC: ‘We think it is 50/50 that it will hap­pen.’ He added that a re­run of the Brexit bat­tle ‘would be bru­tal, it would be ugly, it would be the most di­vi­sive thing this coun­try has ever seen but I re­gret to say we are pre­par­ing for it’.

Sources within the group said that its of­fice space and funds could eas­ily be trans­ferred into a political party af­ter reg­is­ter­ing with the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion.

Mean­while, in re­sponse to Mr Farage’s at­tack, Ukip leader and fel­low MEP Ger­ard Bat­ten quit the Europe of Free­dom and Di­rect Democ­racy group­ing led by Mr Farage in the Euro­pean Parliament on Fri­day.

Mr Bat­ten will to­day join Mr Robin­son in a march down White­hall, amid fears of clashes with anti-fas­cist protests.

Mr Farage warned his for­mer party not to take part in the Be­trayal Of Brexit rally, amid fears it would tar­nish the anti-EU cause and de­scend into vi­o­lence.

Last night, the Hope Not Hate anti-racism group blasted the event as ‘a cyn­i­cal at­tempt by some of the most ex­treme voices in Bri­tain, united in ha­tred for Mus­lims and other mi­nori­ties, to ex­ploit Brexit ten­sions and sow dis­cord and ha­tred’.

‘I’ll stand again if the Brexit ball is dropped’

‘There are 17.4mil­lion peo­ple out there who would like a word with the Prime Minister!’

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