Three Brexit election priorities have already gone down a storm, says NIGEL FARAGE
WEEK one of the General Election campaign, and I have already addressed packed rallies from Bolsover in the East Midlands to Workington in the North West and Newport in South Wales.
Nigel Farage: Boris Johnson’s EU deal ‘is not Brexit’
My three priorities have been: to expose how Leave voters have been utterly betrayed by Corbyn’s Labour, the party of a second referendum; to tell the unflattering truth about Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal; and to give people a genuine democratic choice. These arguments have been going down a storm. And we’re only just getting started. I have made no secret of my serious criticisms of Boris’ new EU treaty. The Prime Minister keeps claiming that his deal will ‘get Brexit done’. The problem is, Boris, that it’s not Brexit. And the Conservatives can’t get Brexit done.
Mr Johnson insists that his deal is ‘oven ready’ and can get Brexit done by Christmas. In truth, the Conservatives are really asking us to vote for a repeat of the last three grim years. Top EU negotiator Michel Barnier has made clear that he expects the wrangling over Brexit to be extended for at least three years. It won’t be all over even by Christmas 2022.
Indeed, if Boris’ Treaty becomes law the next three years are likely to be even worse. During the extendable transition period we will still be subject to all EU laws – and any new ones they impose – but with no vote, no voice and no veto. Does that sound like getting the Brexit you voted for ‘done’?
For months, I have done all in my power to forge a Leavers’ alliance that can win a majority in Parliament and deliver a real Brexit. We have been more than reasonable and moved a considerable way. Polls show that 70 per cent of Conservative voters and 80 per cent of Brexit Party supporters want to see a Leavers’ alliance.
The General Election on December 12th provides an opportunity to press the reset button on Brexit. We could look for a simple Canada-style free trade deal by 2020 or leave on WTO terms, rather than getting entangled in a political treaty on EU terms.
Yet the Conservatives show no signs of shifting towards a clean-break Brexit. Indeed, if reports are to be believed, that the possibility of ‘no deal’ is being entirely removed from the Tory manifesto, then their policy on Brexit will end up even weaker than Theresa May’s was in the 2017 election!
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage
I admit that I have been shocked and surprised at how even the staunch Brexiteers of the European Research Group of Tory MPs have fallen into line with Boris’ Treaty like good little boys, even though 95 per cent of it is reheated from Mrs May’s appalling Withdrawal Agreement.
But perhaps we should not be surprised. After all, we’ve seen it all many times before from the Conservatives, the party that took us into the European Economic Community in the 1970s and the European Union in the 1990s and campaigned for Remain in 2016. The current crisis is further evidence that the Conservatives cannot be trusted to get a proper Brexit done on their own. It can only happen with the help of the Brexit Party.
Oh no, they tell us, you’re splitting the Brexit vote by standing. We have heard that one before, too. When I led UKIP at the 2015 election, the cry from the media was that we would let Ed Milliband’s Labour into government in a coalition with the SNP. In truth, Cameron’s Tories only won a majority in that election because we took Labour votes from people who never have and never will vote Tory. At this election there are many seats in the Brexit heartlands where only the Brexit Party can beat Corbyn’s Remainer Labour.
If Boris truly believes that he has a ‘great new deal’, then let’s have a debate. Because on everything from customs checks on goods going to Northern Ireland, to the future of our fishing industry, he seems to be struggling with the facts about what is in his Treaty. Many are starting to wonder if the Prime Minister has actually read his own deal. I and others have – and we don’t like what we see. Boris’ Treaty won’t get Brexit done, and it won’t stand up to scrutiny through the election campaign. I will debate it with him anytime and anywhere over the next five weeks.
This is the chance for a Leave alliance to deliver Brexit and finish off Labour for a generation. But the clock is ticking. Nominations for election candidates close this week. After that, the die will be cast. If Boris stands by his EU Treaty, then the Brexit Party will be standing against the Conservatives and Corbyn’s Labour in every seat around the country. And in that case, we’ll be standing as the only party that believes in a real Brexit.
I have done what I can. Now it is up to the Conservatives to put country before party and work with us to get Brexit done properly at last.
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