Jeremy Hosking, who is an investor in the Flyby airline, has started funding the new political party after feeling “fooled” by the Prime Minister’s failure to deliver on the 2016 referendum result. The UK was due to leave the EU on March 29 but now looks set to remain locked into the block until October 31. Describing Mr Hosking’s frustration, a friend told the FT: “Having supported the party through thick and thin — often out of gratitude for what Margaret Thatcher did for the UK economy — they feel not only betrayed but, even worse, fooled.”
Anger at the Conservative leader for the UK’s failure to leave the EU intensified after Mrs May entered cross-party talks with the Labour Party.
Leavers fear such talks will lead to a “soft Brexit” in which the UK is forced to continue to adopt EU laws and regulations but without a say in how they are made.
The Brexit Party has confirmed it has received a donation from Mr Hosking but has kept the exact amount of the donation a secret.
A spokesman said: “Jeremy Hosking has contributed to the Brexit party but, for the moment, has nothing further to add.”
Follow our live updates on the latest Brexit news
Brexit live: Theresa May has lost a major Conservative donor to the Brexit Party
8.45pm update: Cabinet set to ramp up no-deal preparations
Brexit secretary Steven Barclay is set to ramp up no-deal Brexit planning in a move that is likely to trigger a “major totemic battle” among cabinet ministers.
The Eurosceptic Tory MP will present a paper to cabinet in the next few weeks on whether to step up planning in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal. But cabinet ministers are divided on the matter.
One ally of Mr Barclay said: “Steve Barclay’s view is that you can’t stop preparing for it even if it’s unlikely.
“His view is that it would be responsible for the government to prepare.”
7.15pm update: Vince Cable says Mrs May’s only chat at getting her deal approved is by backing a second referendum
The Liberal Democrat leader has said the Government’s only chance of getting a Brexit deal through Parliament is by agreeing to a second EU vote.
He also claimed that despite the Prime Minister’s staunch opposition to a second referendum, her Government is “ready” and “organised” for a new poll of public opinion.
6.15pm update: Sajid Javid delivers a fresh warning to Tory Brexiteers
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has delivered a fresh warning to Tory Brexiteers that they could lose Brexit altogether unless they back Theresa May’s deal.
Mr Javid said it would be an “absolute disaster” if pro-Remain MPs were able to combine to stop the Article 50 withdrawal process.
He urged Conservative MPs – and their allies in the DUP – to get behind the Prime Minister’s agreement to ensure Britain leaves the EU in an “orderly way”.
6.10pm update: Change UK has set out its EU election manifeto
Change UK has outlined its vision for what remaining in the EU would look like for health, climate change, defence and the economy, in its EU election manifesto.
The Charter for Remain details how the UK could use its membership of the EU to push for change on domestic and international issues.
Speaking at the launch in Birmingham, Change UK leader Heidi Allen is expected to say the best way foreward is for the country to “fight to remain in the EU”.
However, Ms Allen said fixing Brexit was “just the start” and her party wanted to build on those foundations to tackle issues around prosperity, medicine, the environment and security.
5pm update: Top Tory donor believed to be Nigel Farage’s £200,000 donor
In unconfirmed reports, Jeremy Hoskin, a City financier who have £350,000 to Tory candidates at the 2017 election, is said to have donated £200,000 to Mr Farage’s Brexit party in recent weeks.
Last week Mr Farage said a single donor had given more than £100,000 to the Brexit party, but did not disclose the person’s identity.
But Mr Hosking told The Daily Telegraph that he had actually donated £200,000 over the past “two or three weeks”.
4.10pm update: UK Government responds to Donald Tusk
In response to Mr Tusk’s claim that there is a 30 percent chance Brexit will be cancelled, a Government spokesman said: “The British people voted to leave the EU in the biggest democratic exercise in our history and the government is focused on delivering that result.
“MPs have already voted on a second referendum a number of times and rejected it.”
3.35pm update: Lib Dem spokesman slams Corbyn as a ‘broken record’
Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman, said: “It’s the same old broken record from Jeremy Corbyn. He is throwing all regard for the environment, for jobs and the NHS out of the window with his personal obsession with taking the UK out of the EU.”
3.20pm update: Mr Verhofstadt warns of Brexit damage
The MEP candidate said Brexit had already harmed the UK despite the fact Britain is yet to leave the EU.
He said: “It’s already clear that Brexit has done far more damage than has ever been predicted by those who made the campaign.”
The EU’s chief Breix co-ordinator also said “people can change their opinion” about Brexit and he believed “that is happening”.
Guy Verhofstadt has warned of the damage of Brexit
2.30pm update: Conservatives expect ‘ABSOLUTE MAULING’ and Labour braced for losses
The Conservative Party is on track for an “absolute mauling” and Labour is braced for huge losses in the EU elections as the Brexit crisis looks set to change the political landscape of the UK, a recent poll has found.
Brexit will rip support from the UK’s major parties as disillusioned parties turn to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in the May 23 elections in in protest against Theresa May’s handling of the UK’s exit from the EU.
Anand Menon, director of think-tank The UK in a Changing Europe, said Theresa May’s ruling government would not call an early election while the UK remains in the EU because they are expecting an “absolute mauling”.
1.50pm update: Chancellor calls for US and China to resolve trade conflict
Philip Hammond said a full-blown trade war between the US and China would have a “very serious dampening effect” on the UK economy.
He added the latest clash between Washington and Beijing was a “worry”, but he was “optimistic” the row between the two nations would be resolved in time.
“We have already seen a negative effect on forecasts of global growth largely caused by trade tensions between China and the US, so this is a worry,” he told Sky News.
“A full blown trade war would have a very serious dampening effect on the whole global economy, including the UK, but I think we are a way away from that yet and I hope that this will be resolved.”
1.35pm update: Remainers ABANDON Peterborough by-election blaming LABOUR for anti-Brexit campaign flop
Lib Dems, the Green Party, Change UK and the centrist Renew Party had spent several hours trying to select a single independent candidate for the Cambridgeshire seat in the June 6 poll before the 4pm deadline.
But the putative candidate was said to have pulled out at the eleventh hour amid allegations he came under pressure from senior Labour figures – including supporters of the People’s Vote campaign.
Change UK MP Gavin Shuker said the setback came after the four parties had been working hard on a joint approach to the by-election triggered by the recall petition for the former Labour MP Fiona Onasanaya.
He said: “We all agreed to stand down any candidates we might field in favour of a genuinely independent, pro-People’s Vote and pro-Remain candidate who had expressed an interest and intention to stand.
“However, senior Labour figures, including senior figures campaigning for a People’s Vote, made it clear that they would strenuously disrupt the campaign and obstruct an independent candidate, driven by fears that it would harm their party in Peterborough.
“The candidate was left with no option.”
Brexit live: Nigel Farage is calling for an August General Election
1.10pm: MPs will be ‘fearful’ if Brexit Party wins European election
Nigel Farage was speaking as he toured the centre of Lincoln, talking to voters and market stall holders.
Asked what a Brexit Party victory would mean, he said: “It puts a No Deal Brexit back on the table.
“Parliament has taken it off the table. Our voters say ‘put it back on the table’ and, if we win, we will demand representation, with the Government, at the next stage of negotiations.
“We have deadline now of October 31 and we want to make sure, our voters want to make sure, that, actually, No Deal is being seriously thought-about.”
Mr Farage said: “If Brexit’s not been delivered, lets have an Autumn general election.”
12.41pm update: Jeremy Corbyn faces pressure from backbench Labour MPs to stop talks with Theresa May
Labour MPs reportedly do not believe the Government is serious about making concessions to strike a Brexit deal.
The Evening Standard has reportd the talks are being used by No 10 to keep Theresa May on political “life support”.
Labour MPs are also set to demand the talks end at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday.
Former shadow cabinet member Mary Creagh told the Evening Standard: “Our members and voters are furious with these talks, which have done nothing except keep the Prime Minister in office and depress Labour’s vote at the local and European elections.
“The Government are playing us for fools. If we stand in the middle of the road on Brexit, we’ll get run over from both directions.”
12.01pm update: Prime Minister confirms when Northern Ireland talks will take place
Theresa May will talk to Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein in the coming days about efforts to restore the region’s devolved government, May’s spokeswoman said today.
Representatives of Irish nationalists Sinn Fein and the pro-British Democratic Unionists resumed talks this week in their first attempt in more than a year to restore the government.
It has been frozen since early 2017.
May also discussed the talks with the Democratic Unionist Party on Thursday.
11.25am update: Donald Tusk says chance of Brexit being cancelled could be 30 percent
The bloc’s most senior official claimed the British public only properly started debating Brexit after the 2016 referendum.
He added this meant there was significant reason to believe the leave vote could be cancelled.
Mr Tusk said he would expect a different result in a vote today, following what had been learned since the decision to leave was made.
“The referendum was at the worst possible moment, it is the result of a wrong political calculation,” Tusk said in an interview with the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.
10.50am update: Chancellor reveals growth in economy over last three months
British finance minister Philip Hammond said the country’s economy had remained solid during the three months running up to its planned departure from the European Union, following the release of official first-quarter economic data on Friday.
“Today’s figures show the economy remains robust, with growth of 0.5 percent in Q1 benefiting every major sector,” Hammond said in a statement.
Friday’s figures showed that manufacturing had been the main driver of growth, as firms rushed to deliver orders and build up stocks before the March 29 date when Britain had been due to leave the EU.
John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, commenting on GDP growth of 0.5% driven by pre-Brexit stockbuilding, said:
“It’s not surprising to see households and businesses protecting themselves against a potentially disastrous Tory No Deal Brexit.
“With this government increasingly resembling a business entering administration it’s time they admitted the failure of their approach and stood aside for a General Election.
“With wages, investment and productivity all stagnant it’s clear only Labour’s plan for a £10 per hour Real Living Wage, National Transformation Fund and regional industrial strategy will deliver the sustainable growth we all need.”
Guy Verhofstadt was spotted in Camden this morning
10.32am update: Mr Verhofstadt joins the Lib Dems in Camden
Mr Verhofstadt said his presence was not foreign interference in the UK’s European Parliament elections as he was “a Lib Dem”.
He added he was backing the party because it opposed Brexit.
The MEP said to journalist Iain Watson he “doesn’t know” if the UK will leave the EU, before adding “it’s never too late”.
When asked if he’d back other remain parties, he still leaned towards the LibDems’ long standing pro EU position.
Mr Cable said he was campaigning to combat “ugly populism”.
10.06am update: Labour MP says Labour and Conservative ‘broken’ by Brexit
Brexiteer Kate Hoey said to TalkRadio: “I said a month ago when the Brexit Party was set up that I thought both Labour and Conservatives would be trounced at the European elections, and I still feel that.
“It is going to almost become another referendum in a way, because I think what we’ll see is those who feel strongly about leaving will not vote for either of the two parties, and those who feel strongly about remain will not vote for either of the two main parties.
“It will tell us that the two-party system on this issue is completely broken. It will tell us that the country is very angry – whether they’re Remainers or Leavers – that we haven’t got on with this.”
Brexit live: Guy Verhofstadt is visiting London today to back the Liberal Democrats
9.48am update: France warns there MUST be a Brexit solution by October 31
France will not tolerate repeated extensions of the Brexit deadline, a French presidential adviser said this morning.
He also expressed hope that European elections in Britain would jolt parties into reaching a deal on leaving the European Union.
“We won’t get into repeated extensions, that’s for sure,” the adviser said.
“Our message is clear: a solution must have been found by October 31.”
9.34am update: Belgian MEP lands in UK to back Lib Dem’s ‘B****cks to Brexit’ campaign
Guy Verhofstadt is visiting London today to back the Liberal Democrats in their fight to stop Brexit.
The Brexit coordinator for the European Union has joined Sir Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats on their European elections campaign trail.
Mr Cable launched his party’s campaign this week with the message of “B******* to Brexit” as they are battling to keep the UK in the European Union.
Mr Cable believes the said the party’s “very clear, simple, unambiguous, honest message” will attract pro-EU Labour voters on May 23.
Mr Verhofstadt tweeted earlier this morning that it was time to “renew Europe”.
He wrote: “On my way to London with a strong team of @openvid candidates standing in the European Elections 2019.
“Looking forward to campaigning for a united Europe with our sister party the Lib Dems and Vince Cable. It is time to renew Europe.”
9.15am: Nigel Farage says deal with Conservatives and Labour “won’t be Brexit”
The leader of The Brexit Party said to BBC’s Question Time audience that there was a “genuine democratic crisis in this country” , with the reason being “simple”.
He said: “We voted to Leave by quite a big majority in a referendum. We then voted a year later in a general election for two political parties that told us they would respect our wishes and carry out Brexit.
“We then saw 500 MPs vote for Article 50 which said we would leave on March 29 with or without a withdrawal agreement.
“The reason we didn’t leave on March 29 is these people do not want us to become an independent, self-governing nation.
“They are doing their upmost to thwart Brexit and now it gets worse because now, to try and save their own skins, we have got Labour and a Conservative Party negotiating a permanent customs union and alignment with single market rules.
“They are basically trying to make us associate members of the European Union with no say, with no rights and with ongoing costs, in many ways even worse than staying a member of the European Union.
“This is a coalition of parliament against the people and I pray that it does not go through because it won’t be Brexit.”
8.45am update: Ireland and Britain to work together to keep peace
Ireland and Britain will work with Northern Irish parties to try to restore a devolved government in the province within weeks rather than months, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.
The British-run province has been without a devolved executive for over two years since Irish nationalists Sinn Fein withdrew from the compulsory power-sharing government with the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
The killing of 29-year-old reporter Lyra McKee during rioting by militant Irish nationalists increased pressure on politicians to get the devolved government working again.
“We’ve seen in the killing of Lyra McKee and the tragedy around that what happens in a vacuum where politics isn’t working,” Coveney told BBC radio. “We need to correct that.”
“Ireland and Britain need to work together,” he said. “And the British and Irish governments will work closely together to try and do some of the heavy lifting with the political parties that can change this within weeks not months.”
Power-sharing is central to Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace agreement, which ended three decades of violence in the region in which some 3,600 people were killed.
8.19am update: What will the other new indicative votes be?
Mrs May is hoping to agree a deal with Mr Corbyn, but if the talks fail, she will hold her plan B indicative votes.
These would not be legally binding, but would show what MPs want out of leaving the European Union.
Another alternative vote could include a “knock-out system”, where the least popular options are discarded after each round of voting.
The one option remaining at the end would be the winner.
A senior Governemnt source said: “There are several ways of doing it. If we can’t agree a Brexit deal with Labour, we will move on to discussing a new round of indicative votes and how they could be done.”
7.50am update: Labour “doesn’t exist to stop Brexit”
An ally of Jeremy Corbyn has defended the party’s approach to the European elections.
The party is seeking to appeal to both sides of the Brexit debate, insisting that the real divide in the country is between normal workers and the wealthy rather than Leavers and Remainers.
Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon acknowledged it was a “difficult road” that the party had chosen “but it’s the right thing to do”.
In comments which could cause further tensions within Labour between those calling for a second referendum and others who want to secure a soft Brexit deal, Mr Burgon insisted the party was not trying to prevent the UK’s exit from the European Union.
“The Labour Party doesn’t exist to stop Brexit,” he told BBC Two’s Newsnight.
“Other parties have been formed that think that is their only purpose politically.”