Hardline Brexiteers in the Conservative Party are rallying against the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal by pledging to vote it down for the fourth time. One senior Tory MP told The Times: “Whatever happens we cannot have these European Parliament elections. “The referendum was supposed to kill Ukip — what May’s done over the last two weeks has dug up the corpse and put Farage’s face on it.”
This latest defiant promise comes after the Conservative group on Derbyshire county council announced it would not help with the electoral campaign for the European elections at all.
Council leader Barry Lewis said it was “not an easy decision” to take.
He continued: “However, we were promised, following the largest public mandate a UK Government has ever received, that we would be out by March 29.
“The Prime Minister said we would be out by that date countless times, so did many others in government and yet here we are racing towards the end of April and facing an increased prospect of participating in a European elections in May that should not be happening.
READ MORE: Brexit OUTRAGE: Cabinet wasted £13m of taxpayers money for redundant no deal Brexit plans
Nigel Farage’s party has surged in polls
“More significant for our residents and local businesses is the fact that the uncertainty continues.”
Mrs May has said 108 times during official talks and speeches she would lead the country out of the European Union on March 2019 – with or without a deal.
But her decision to seek twice an extension to Article 50 fuelled the discontent among Brexiteers and, as an analysis of two YouGov survey shows, helped Mr Farage’s Brexit Party surge by 12 percent in just a few days.
In a poll carried out between April 10 and 11, the Brexit Party gathered 15 percent of the supporters, while in the survey dated April 15 to 16 Mr Farage’s supporters were 27 percent of the voters.
On the other hand, the Conservative Party went from 16 percent to 15 percent of supporters, coming in third.
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9.50pm update: Farage warns he will ‘wholeheartedly target Labour lies and dishonesty’
Nigel Farage has launched a scathing attack against Labour, warning he will “wholeheartedly target” the party’s “lies and dishonesty”.
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson had claimed “voters deserve better than Nigel Farage’s promise of a far-right Brexit that would solve nothing”.
Responding to those comments, Mr Farage, he said: “Tom Watson has broken his promises to the people.
“The second referendum that he backs is a total insult to five million Brexit Labour voters.
“I now intend to wholeheartedly target Labour lies and dishonesty in the weeks ahead.”
Tom Watson received stinging criticism from Nigel Farage
9.44pm update: Tom Watson outlines how Labour can counter the challenge of Nigel Farage
Writing in the Observer, the Labour deputy leader said: “Labour won’t defeat Farage by being mealy-mouthed and sounding as if we half agree with him.
“We won’t beat him unless we can inspire the millions crying out for a different direction.
“We won’t win if we sit on the fence about the most crucial issue that has faced our country for a generation.”
He added: “Now that we know a bit more about what Brexit means, the very least that Leavers and Remainers deserve is a final say – a confirmatory referendum – on any deal.
“They deserve a Labour party that offers clarity on this issue, as well as the radical vision for a new political economy achieved by working with our socialist allies inside the EU.
“And, above all, they deserve better than Nigel Farage’s promise of a far-right Brexit that would solve nothing.”
9.10pm update: Rees-Mogg admits he made KEY miscalculation in Brexit process – ‘naive and made a mistake’
Jacob Rees-Mogg has said he “made a mistake” in believing Theresa May’s “no deal is better than a bad deal” mantra after the Prime Minister forced the UK into a six-month extension in order to avoid a no deal Brexit this month.
The leading Brexiteer said he showed a “degree of naivety” in believing Theresa May would support a no deal Brexit.
Channel 4’s political editor Gary Gibbon said Mr Rees-Mogg had “underestimated” how resistant the Prime Minister was to a no deal Brexit.
In response, the leading Brexiteer said: “Oh, absolutely. You are absolutely right.
“That was my miscalculation.
“I made a mistake of believing the British Prime Minister, which actually historically can often be a mistake.
“I am making a criticism myself of a degree of naivety.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted he made a key miscalculation in the Brexit process
7.53pm update update: Jean-Claude Junker launches SCATHING attack against UK
The European Commission President warned any kind of Brexit will have “negative consequences” which will be worse for Britain than the EU, and be entirely the UK’s responsibility.
In an interview with German Funke Media Groupe, he said: “We have to be prepared for a soft as well as a hard Brexit.
“In any case, the exit will have negative consequences – for the British more than for the EU.
“There will be no single market-based solution. As I see it, the British side bears 100% of the responsibility for this.”
7pm update: Change UK is ‘natural home’ for voters wanting a second referendum, says party’s interim leader
Heidi Allen claimed there is a “real appetite building” to support the party in next month’s European elections.
Change UK has received more than 1,000 applications to stand for election from former Labour, Tory, Liberal and Green party activists, the Observer reported.
Of the 3,700 applications received by Change UK for the 70 MEP candidacy places, 895 were former Labour activists, 105 were ex-Liberal Democrats and 92 ex-Greens.
Dozens of other applicants had been active in the Tory party, including former MPs, while of the Labour defectors, 32 were either former MPs or had previously been parliamentary or council candidates.
Ms Allen said: “From across the country and old party divides, people are coming together to tell Labour and Conservative leaderships that they’ve had enough – enough of them focusing on self-preservation and wilful facilitation of a damaging Brexit.
“There’s a real appetite building to support Change UK and send a clear message; give us a people’s vote with a chance to remain and get out of the Brexit mess.”
Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Alice Scarsi.
4.50pm update: Nigel Farage will not ‘stand aside’ until Brexit is delivered
Nigel Farage revealed he has been thrown back into politics by those who have failed to deliver Brexit.
Telling party supporters he is not a career politician, Mr Farage said: “I genuinely thought after 498 MPs voted for Article 50 that we would leave the European Union on March the 29th.
“I genuinely thought that I had played my part in turning around history and the future of our country.
“I was perfectly happy to cease involvement in frontline politics.
“I am not, after 25 years of fighting and campaigning for our country to be free and independent, I am not prepared to stand aside – I am not prepared to be rolled over by our career politicians.”
4pm update: Nigel Farage says he wants to WIN the European elections
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage told the Nottingham rally, attended by approximately 700 activists, the current two-party system is no longer representing British people.
He said: “Our intention is to fight these European elections and our intention is to win these European elections.
“We have not formed this party just to protest, just to stick two fingers up to the establishment on May 23, just to get our own back and tell them what we think of them.
“No, our ambitions are much, much higher than that.
“I think it’s obvious that our two-party system simply doesn’t work any more.
“I think it’s obvious that our two big parties serve nothing but their own interests and agenda rather than the nation more broadly.”
Annunziata Rees-Mogg confirmed she would stand as a candidate
3.30pm update: Annunziata Rees-Mogg announced she is running as a candidate in the East Midlands
At a Brexit Party rally in Nottingham, Annunziata Rees-Mogg, the sister of Jacob Rees-Mogg, confirmed she would stand as a candidate in the East Midlands region in the May 23 European elections.
She said: “We have got one chance to save this country and to save it effectively from being tied to the European Union, failing as that is with youth unemployment and the rise of the extremists.
“We need to get out, we need to leave. We need to leave cleanly and we need to leave now.”
3pm update: Boris Johnson would push many Tory MPs to leave the party, according to Change UK leader
Heidi Allen, an ex-Conservative who joined Change UK in protest against Theresa May’s handling of Brexit, predicted a walkout of Tory MPs if the current Prime Minister is replaced by a Brexiteer such as Mr Johnson.
The head of Change UK, formerly known as The Independent Group, told The Financial Times: “If the party actively chooses someone like Boris Johnson, or whoever it might be, then that will tell them, I think, that the game really is over.
“I think that would potentially be the end of the road for a number of Tory MPs.”
Mr Johnson, a hardline Brexiteer, is the bookies’ favourite to replace Mrs May in Downing Street.
2pm update: Brexiteer businessman calls for ‘consistent’ John Redwood to REPLACE Theresa May
Brexiteer MP John Redwood was urged to replace Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party and deliver Brexit “for the good of the people”.
John Elliott, the founder of the manufacturer of washing machines and dehumidifiers in the UK, insisted “consistent” Brexiteer MP Mr Redwood would be the perfect replacement of the Prime Minister.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, the Brexiteer businessman said: “I think John Redwood has been quite good. He has been consistent and what he says backs up.
“He has been around a long time. He has also had this same view. The evidence is there.”
1pm update: Theresa May could be ousted IN DAYS if backbenchers agree on changing leadership contest’s rules
Theresa May is facing another no confidence vote as senior Tory MPs are discussing changing the party’s rules surrounding leadership challenges to oust her as soon as possible.
The Conservative Party’s influential 1922 committee is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss whether the rule allowing a no confidence vote against the same person only once a year should be changed.
The co-secretary of the committee, Nigel Evans, said he is “leaning towards” the idea of changing the rules.
He said: “I certainly will be leaning towards us changing the rules if another solution to this situation cannot be found.
“We cannot leave it for 12 months.
“If we fight the European elections there is only one person that is responsible – her.”
Andrew Mitchell urged MPs to deliver Brexit
12.40pm update: MPs MUST deliver Brexit because voters chose to Leave
Andrew Mitchell, former Chairman of the party, says Tory MPs were elected to deliver Brexit and the failure to do so has let down constituents.
The MP for Sutton wrote in The Daily Telegraph: “Our failure to resolve the Brexit question dwarfs everything else in our politics.
“Our constituents are bewildered that we cannot honour their decision to Leave and turn our attention to their concerns about crime, the economy, the NHS and education.”
Tory MPs need to get rid of their sense of entitlement and remember they serve the people, Mr Mitchell continued.
He said: “This agony will continue unless and until we pass the withdrawal agreement – the necessary step to ensuring we leave the EU.
“A distressing air of Tory entitlement has entered our politics where some Ministers appear to forget that we are the servant of the people not their master.”
12.08pm update: Jean-Claude Juncker believes there is an ‘attempt’ to ‘RIG’ the European elections
As Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has taken the lead in the latest polls, Mr Juncker believes there are forces who are trying to “rig” the elections.
He said: “I can see an attempt to rig the European Parliament elections.
“This comes from several quarters, and not only from outside the EU.
“States within the EU are also seeking to direct the will of voters in a particular direction with fake news.”
11.30am update: More Scots are now open to the arguments of an independent Scotland because of Brexit, says Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, claimed Brexit is persuading more people to hear the case of the Yes campaign.
She wrote in The National newspaper: “In 2014, many who ultimately voted No were open to persuasion.
“With Brexit destroying any sense that the UK offers a stable and prosperous future for Scotland, there are even more people now open to the arguments for an independent Scotland.
“So the responsibility of all of us who support independence is to persuade those who are open-minded that it is the best answer to the questions we face.”
Michel Barnier said ‘peace in Northern Ireland is still fragile’
11am update: Michel Barnier mourns Lyra McKee and says peace is in Northern Ireland is still ‘FRAGILE’
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the death of Lyra McKee, the journalist shot in the head on Friday night in Londonderry, was “a reminder of how fragile peace still is in Northern Ireland”.
He added: “We must all work to preserve the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement.”
Police believe the murder has been carried out by dissident republicans linked to the New IRA, as they clashed with police on the Creggan estate in Londonderry on Thursday night.
10.25am update: Tories are FURIOUS at Theresa May over her Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn
Barry Lewis, leader of the Derbyshire Tories, said the Conservatives were furious Mrs May started Brexit negotiations with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
He said: “Whether you voted to Leave or Remain, the vast majority of people recognise there is a democratic obligation to deliver what was promised and that Government should not abdicate their promise to deliver it.
“I informed Brandon that inviting Jeremy Corbyn to the table in an attempt to pass a deal was in our view a serious mistake for the Prime Minister and, consequently, our party.
“Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party under him, deserve no credibility.”
Jean-Claude Juncker believes a no deal Brexit could still happen
9.50am update: Juncker believes a no deal Brexit could STILL happen
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says there are still concerns in Brussels the UK may leave the EU without a deal, despite being granted a six-month extension to Article 50.
Speaking to German newspaper FUNKE Mediengruppe, Mr Juncker said: “Nobody knows how Brexit will end. This is creating great uncertainty.
“There is still a fear that there will be a hard Brexit without any withdrawal treaty arrangements.
“I hope that the British will make use of this time and not waste it again.
“We cannot keep on putting off the withdrawal date indefinitely.
“The best solution would be for the British to adopt the Withdrawal Agreement during the extra time that has been agreed.”