Monday 20 May 2019

Farage's new Brexit party takes lead in EU vote poll

Nigel Farage, whose new Brexit Party has opened up a five-point lead in the next month's elections to the European Parliament, according to a new opinion poll. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA
Nigel Farage, whose new Brexit Party has opened up a five-point lead in the next month's elections to the European Parliament, according to a new opinion poll. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA

Ben Kentish london

Nigel Farage's new Brexit Party has surged ahead in UK opinion polls for next month's European Parliament elections, with a new survey suggesting it is on course to leave Labour and the Conservatives trailing in its wake.

The YouGov poll placed the party on 27pc within a week of its launch, putting it well ahead of Labour on 22pc and the Conservatives on 15pc, just weeks before the May 23 elections.

The Green Party is on 10pc, the Liberal Democrats on 9pc and Change UK - The Independent Group on 6pc, once non-voters and people who are unsure how they will vote are excluded.

Mr Farage led his previous party, Ukip, to a shock victory in the 2014 European Parliament elections, when it topped the poll with 26.6pc of the vote. But its popularity has tanked under current leader Gerard Batten, with the YouGov poll suggesting it is on course to receive only 7pc of votes next month. Mr Farage left Ukip last year, saying he did not "recognise" it under Mr Batten's leadership.

A poll last weekend placed his new Brexit Party on 15pc but its showing has soared in recent days. Mr Farage launched the party last week alongside Annunziata Rees-Mogg, the sister of Tory Brexiteer leader Jacob Rees-Mogg.

She had twice stood to be a Tory MP but has now left the Conservatives after 35 years to join the Brexit Party and is its top candidate for the MEP elections.

Several Ukip MEPs have also defected to the new party.

Writing in the 'Guardian' before the latest poll was released, YouGov's political research manager Chris Curtis said: "It is entirely plausible that we are facing another Farage-shaped upset at the ballot box. While there are more than five weeks of campaigning to go, I certainly wouldn't bet against him."

He said support for Mr Farage's party was being driven by Conservative voters angry at Theresa May's failure to deliver Brexit, with just a quarter of people who voted Conservative at the 2017 general election saying they will do so next month. Only 12pc of Leave voters are now backing the Tories.

Mrs May has insisted she wants to secure parliament's approval for a Brexit deal in time to cancel the European Parliament elections.

But with cross-party talks deadlocked and MPs having rejected the prime minister's deal three times, all parties are gearing up for the contest.

Launching the Brexit Party, Mr Farage said: "I do believe that we can win these European elections and that we can again start to put the fear of God into our members of parliament in Westminster.

"They deserve nothing less than that after the way they've treated us over this betrayal." (© Independent News Service)

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