Nigel Farage has bet £1,000 of his own money on his newly formed Brexit Party winning the most seats at the European Parliament Elections on May 23rd.
Former UKIP leader Farage claimed to have been already given £750,000 in donations, launching the rival, “similar” but “different” party to UKIP yesterday, branding his former party as “tarnished” by the far right.
“I don’t think that Middle England, decent people, want to vote for a political party that is linked with extremism, violence, criminal records and thuggery,” he said of UKIP.
Nigel Farage has warned UKIP faces “total and utter marginalisation” by new leader Gerard Batten as it allows divisive figures such as former English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson into the party.
Last year, we reported how Alt Right figures Milo Yiannopoulos and Paul Joseph Watson and controversial YouTubers Carl Benjamin and Count Dankula have all been courted by UKIP despite questionable views on race, religion and the age of sexual consent.
Carl Benjamin who tweeted “I wouldn’t even rape you” to Labour MP Jess Phillips, in a message featuring the tag #feminismiscancer, has been chosen by UKIP as a candidate to be an MEP for the South West.
Current UKIP leader Gerard Batten branded Farage a “self-serving hypocrite” and said Farage’s comments about his party were “a lie.” Batten insisted: “UKIP has a manifesto and policies. Farage’s party is just a vehicle for him,” with the sole mission of getting “him re-elected.”
But launching the Brexit Party’s European elections campaign in a Coventry factory yesterday, Farage said the new party would share the same policies as UKIP but there would be a “vast difference” in the people in it, as UKIP now courted a “loutish fringe.”
“In terms of policy there’s no difference but in terms of personnel there is a vast difference,” Farage told the BBC.
“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.”
But how different are the personnel of the Brexit Party from UKIP?
The Brexit Party was originally formed in January by former UKIP economic spokesperson Catherine Blaiklock. But the party lost its original leader when Blaiklock was forced to resign just two months later after her appalling racist opinions emerged.
Then, just over a week later, Brexit Party treasurer Michael McGough was removed from his position for offensive social media comments after The Guardian unearthed antisemitic, homophobic, islamophobic and offensive racist remarks about people from “bingo bongo land” and people who had perished in the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
The Brexit Party’s first leader launched the party on 20 January 2019. Daughter of polar explorer Ken Blaiklock, Catherine worked as a financial currency and derivatives trader before entering politics, standing as a candidate for UKIP and acting as their economics spokesperson.
In a January interview on Talk Radio, Blaiklock made clear that the party she set up would be a vehicle for Nigel Farage. “I won’t run it without Nigel, I’m a nobody and I haven’t got any ego to say that I am an anybody”, she insisted, adding: “I’m happy to facilitate Nigel and do the donkey work and work for him, but I don’t have any illusions as to myself”.
But if the Brexit Party was set up by Blaiklock as a vehicle for Farage to lure UKIP members disillusioned by some of the “thuggish” figures that have joined, her own views had caused controversy too.
Articles she had previously posted on The Conservative Woman had discussed introducing hanging for drug dealers and argued that food banks are contributing to obesity in low-income families, who should be eating potatoes, being cheaper and healthier.
Soon after launching The Brexit Party, Blaiklock deleted embarrassing twitter and blog posts that expressed biological racist beliefs bordering on eugenics and islamophobia.
In one of the deleted posts, unearthed by The Guardian, titled “Baby mamas, gangs and testosterone”, she wrote: “I always joke that that black American men go crazy in their teens and 20s because of all their excess testosterone, have lots of babies, sex, violence, drugs, sport and music and then at 35, when their testosterone reduces to near the levels of white men, all settle down and become washing-machine repairmen. I may not be so far from the truth.
“We do not like to talk about biology when related to race, but what is good for winning 100m races might not be great for passing A-level maths exams.”
Blaiklock also had retweeted tweets from far right, racist, islamophobic and former BNP and neo-nazi holocaust sceptic Mark Collett.
In one of her own tweets, unearthed by anti-racism group Hope Not Hate, she argued: “Islam = submission – mostly to raping men it seems.”
In another she tweeted: “Got of [sic] at Mornington Crescent yessterday [sic] afternoon. 8 people waiting for lift, 5 Muslim girls, 1 black, 1 other Asian Chinese, 1 white. Immediately outside saw a drug deal take place. Looked like Turkey.”
She resigned from her new party soon after the story broke.
Nigel Farage told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he would take over as Brexit Party leader, insisting Blaiklock was “never intended to be the long-term leader.”
He then told the same show this month, “I set the party up, she was the administrator that got it set up. We had a couple of teething problems, yes, but are we going to be deeply intolerant of all forms of intolerance? Yes.”
Who are The Brexit Party European Election Candidates?
Farage has claimed 1,000 “high calibre” people had applied to be European candidates.
Though Private Eye had reported that many timewasters had applied online as “candidates, activists or donors with false details” to waste the party’s time.
With bookies now making the party second favourite – behind the Labour Party to win the most seats in the European Parliamentary elections – who are their “high calibre candidates?
Party chair Richard Tice
Born into a line of property magnates, multimillionaire land and asset management CEO Richard Tice was revealed as the Brexit Party chair.
Tice claimed the party have 40 “quality candidates.” This week four were announced.
Tice was founder of well-funded anti-EU campaign group Leave Means Leave – a group compared by The Independent newspaper to the NRA in its moneyed lobbying influence.
Tice was also co-chair of Leave.EU, which was found to have carried out campaign violations in the EU referendum by the Electoral Commission in February.
Tice was a Conservative and intended to stand to be a possible Tory candidate for London Mayor before he says he turned his back on the party due to his disgust at the mess they have made of Brexit.
“We cannot, we must not, and we will not allow this complete and utter shambles in Westminster to continue,” Tice told those gathered for the party launch in a Coventry factory. “We know Britain can do so much better than this.”
Annunziata is Jacob Rees-Mogg’s younger sister, youngest of the five Rees-Mogg siblings born in Bath to the late William Rees-Mogg and Gillian Shakespeare Morris.
She joined the Conservative Party at the age of five and later said: “I was too young to be a Young Conservative, so I joined the main party. Aged eight I was out canvassing, proudly wearing my rosette.”
David Cameron put her on his party ‘A-list’, reportedly asking her to canvas under the name ‘Nancy’ to make it easier for voters, which she refused. She stood unsuccessfully for the Tories twice in 2005 and 2010.
But in Coventry on Friday, announcing her candidacy, Rees-Mogg said she had stuck with the Conservative Party “through thick and thin” until now.”
She added: “We’ve got to rescue our democracy, we have got to show that the people of this country have a say in how we are run.”
As a journalist, she worked for the Eurosceptic Daily Telegraph and edited the European Journal, an anti-EU publication bankrolled by Tory MP Bill Cash’s think tank the European Foundation. She is also an occasional contributor to the BBC.
As well as being a lifelong Brexiteer, she is an opponent of the 2004 Hunting Act which banned fox hunting.
Like Party leader Nigel Farage, Ben Habib was privately educated before working in the city.
“Businessman” Ben Habib was another of the Brexit Party MEP candidates unveiled this week. As was the fact that his business stands to profit from what he calls “Brexit nervousness.”
Like Brexit Party chair Richard Tice, Habib is a property investor and fund manager. In interviews, Habib, CEO of First Property, has been more opaque about the profitability of “Brexit nervousness”, revealing repeatedly how he is set to make a tidy profit, snapping up cut-price regional office properties devalued due to Brexit uncertainty.
The Huffington Post has revealed that on the day of the EU referendum in 2016 he confided in IPE Real Assets: “Any volatility would only be an opportunity for small, opportunistic companies such as First Property.”
Reacting to the story Habib insisted: “My company will do fine with or without Brexit.
“We have a hedged business. Properties in the UK and Poland. Whatever effects Brexit might have on the market we should be fine.”
Back in 2017 Habib was boasting again in IPE Real Assets: “The UK’s decision to leave the EU has created opportunities on which we, as a niche fund manager, are well placed to capitalise.”
And in February last year in an article titled ‘How one fund manager is banking yields of 10% on Brexit property bargains,’ he confided to Business Insider that “there is Brexit nervousness in the market,” which investors could exploit to make a tidy 10% return on investment each year.
“Larger lot sizes – which are typically the more buoyant part of the market – have been hit harder than the smaller lot sizes, because it’s the institutions who are more concerned about Brexit than the private individuals and smaller corporates,” he explained.
Yet on Friday, launching his candidacy as MEP, he insisted: “there is nothing to fear from no deal.”
Dr Alka Seghal Cuthbert
Alka Sehgal Cuthbert is a former teacher and lectures as well as writing opnion pieces on education. Some of these appear in controversial libertarian publication Spiked.
Her most recent article defends Muslim parents protesting at lessons at a Birmingham primary school that, she wrote, “explicitly teaches children that it is okay to be gay, trans and so on.”
Like other contributors to Spiked, which tends to contain right wing and libertarian arguments championing freedom of speech, Alka Seghal Cuthbert is a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
“My son still finds it very difficult to countenance this,” she told The Daily Beast, adding: “It’s widely recognized that Left and Right have lost their meaning so we need new principles to base our politics on, and for me the question of democracy is the key—I’m not doing this for Nigel Farage.”
Vocal campaigner for a Hard Brexit, June Mummery is a member of Fishing for Leave and MD of fish market auctioneers BFP Eastern.
She told the Eastern Daily Press that she is known as “Boadicea” for her fight for local fishing interests, and that she believes that Brexit would bring more fishing rights to UK fishermen. Though how likely that is, the way negotiations with EU leaders are going remains to be seen.