A Brexit Party MEP has said that “with the benefit of hindsight” his party maybe should not have pulled 317 candidates from the General Election.
Ben Habib called Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Deal “subjugation of the United Kingdom” and said that remaining in the EU is “much better.”
“The withdrawal agreement is much worse than remain frankly,” he explained, adding “under Boris Johnson’s deal we are going to leave Northern Ireland bereft.”
It has been confirmed that there are 275 Brexit Party candidates running, after leader Nigel Farage initially suggested that his party would target every seat in Britain.
Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib has suggested that his party may have made the wrong decision in standing down so many candidates.
“Well I think with the benefit of hindsight maybe we shouldn’t have stood 317 candidates down, with the benefit of hindsight, because the Tories haven’t responded positively to it.
“They haven’t stood down and assured a proper Leave mandate in Parliament,” he told Sophy Ridge on Sky News, adding that he will be surprised is his party does not win “at least five” seats.
Mr Habib said he is “torn” over how to vote in his own constituency of Chelsea and Fulham where there is no Brexit Party candidate, but said he “may” vote for Tory Greg Hands or alternatively spoil his ballot paper.
Mr Habib told Soppy Ridge on Sky News: “What we really need to do is get the Prime Minister to pivot away from the Withdrawal Agreement.”
Mr Habib was asked about allegations that Tories have offered jobs and peerages to the Brexit Party in return for them standing down at the election.
Asked if the claims are correct, Mr Habib laughed as he said: “Sadly, no job was ever offered to me.”
He added: “I am aware that a number of my colleagues have been pressed. Ann Widdecombe, for example, was offered some sort of negotiating position with the Tory Party, from Number 10, someone from Number 10 called Ann.
“I know there have been lots of conversations going on, and discussions, and pressure has been brought to bear.”
He said he was unable to say how many people had been pressured.
Asked about the Conservative Party’s denials, and whether his comments amount to him saying the Tories are lying when they deny the claims, Mr Habib said: “I’m saying they’re being economical with the truth for sure. Absolutely. It has been going on. Without a shadow of a doubt.”
Ben Habib and accusations of profiting from Brexit
Like Party leader Nigel Farage, Ben Habib was privately educated before working in the city.
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 he has insisted: “there is nothing to fear from no deal.”