Tory Grandee Ann Widdecombe has defected to Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party, remarking that it was time to deliver a “seismic shock” to the establishment parties.
Widdecombe, a former Conservative MP and Shadow Home Secretary said that she will stand for the Brexit Party in the upcoming EU elections due on May 23rd. The move would seem to end a lifetime of support for the Conservative Party, which included time served as a Member of Parliament, minister, and shadow minister through the Thatcher, Major, and Hague eras.
Speaking of her defection, Ms Widdecombe said she wanted to “fire a very loud warning shot across the bows” of the establishment parties. She also described Prime Minister Theresa May as “hopelessly inadequate”, reports Sky News.
I’d intended to abstain in the European Elections but as a resident of Wiltshire (part of the SW Region) I’ll now be voting for @brexitparty_uk. I have always admired Ann Widdecombe and May’s failure to put her in the Lords was a travesty. I’ll be voting Widders with enthusiasm.
— Tim Montgomerie (@montie) April 24, 2019
Widdecombe stressed that she would still vote for the Conservatives in upcoming local elections but would stand for the Brexit Party in the EU elections in order to ensure Brexit is delivered. She said: “What the Remain campaign failed to achieve by fear must not be achieved by fatigue.”
Speaking to Talk Radio Wednesday morning, fellow Tory Grandee and Brexiteer Iain Duncan-Smith lamented the loss of Widdecombe to the Brexit party. In remarks that betray the loss of obviously conservative figures away from the increasingly centrist Tory party, the former party leader said: “[Widdecombe is] incredibly popular among grassroots Conservatives and I also think she’s pretty popular among the public… I think lots of people thought that was great and I think she’s a formidable force.”
Duncan-Smith also questioned why it was that someone as distinguished and high profile as Widdecombe was never elevated to the House of Lords by a Conservative Prime Minister after she officially retired from politics in 2010. Unmentioned by Duncan-Smith was Widdecombe’s opposition to David Cameron’s leadership of the Conservative party and the fact that his followers continue to control the party.
Widdecombe’s defection comes as Nigel Farage has announced a new slate of candidates for the upcoming EU elections from a range of backgrounds, including war hero James Glancy, former nurse and charity worker Christina Jordan, and political commentator and former Revolutionary Communist Party member Claire Fox. Research suggests that 62 per cent of Conservative voters and 40 per cent of Conservative town hall elected councillors are considering voting for Nigel Farage’s new party.
‘Watershed Moment for Democracy’: Brexit Party Candidates Include Decorated Veteran, Nurse https://t.co/lWvEQkJFIS
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 23, 2019
Another party, the newly formed ‘Change UK’ party also celebrated their launch yesterday by announcing their own slate of candidates. These included a BBC presenter, a yoga instructor and Boris Johnson’s sister, journalist Rachel Johnson.
The Brexit Party are expected to make a big impact in the EU elections. According to the latest YouGov poll, the Brexit Party are in the lead on 23% to Labour’s 22% with the Conservatives languishing on 17% and the Change UK party on 8%