Nigel Farage has said Tories should use their ongoing party conference as an opportunity to begin saying in public what they have been telling him in private: Theresa May is a “waste of space” and needs to go.
In a barnstorming speech in the European Parliament, which he began by taking the European Union to task for turning a blind eye to police brutality in Catalonia, the Brexit supremo said Brexit was “an act of liberation … a voice of national self-determination, that cannot — and will not — be stopped.
“But through this negotiating process, I’m afraid from the start you’ve treated us as if we’re some kind of hostage. Unless we pay a ransom, unless we meet all of your demands, then you won’t even have an intelligent conversation with us about trade heading on from here.
“There are no guarantees that whatever Mrs. May says or does that you will ever, even when we’ve met your demands, come to us and want to have a sensible trade agreement.
“And I have to to say, that it is sad, in fact, it was pitiful, to see the British prime minister in Florence [making concessions] … Mrs May, I’m sad to say, isn’t worldly enough to recognise that when you face up to a bully, the one thing that you do not do is try to appease them.”
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) September 27, 2017
Farage told the assembled MEPs he actually had some sympathy with the view that the formerly Remainer-dominated government in Britain was sending out “mixed messages”.
He then blasted: “I just hope that in Manchester the Conservative Party start to say in public what they’re all saying to me in private; that [Theresa May] is a waste of space, she needs to go, we need a proper prime minister who says to Monsieur Barnier, ‘OK, here’s a deadline, here’s a date, we work towards that date, if we can’t reach a sensible deal on trade and everything else then we are simply leaving and reverting to WTO rules’.
“This charade cannot go on for year after year. After all, we voted Brexit.”
The European Parliament has voted by a huge majority of 557 in favour of a non-binding resolution against bringing trade discussions into the Brexit negotiations during the same parliamentary session, in a move Farage said was confirmation that Brussels “basically wants Britain to be humiliated, to go down on our knees, to make a whole series of concessions before they even begin to talk to us about a trade deal”.
The vote strengthens the position of Brexit supporters who believe the Government should focus on preparing itself for a ‘No Deal’ scenario, with Farage concluding: “It’s beginning to feel to me like we’re wasting our time here. Let’s crack on and get out as soon as possible.”