Brexit leader Nigel Farage has gone head-to-head with stop-Brexit politician Vince Cable in the only broadcast debate in the run-up to Thursday’s European Parliament election, and appealed to voters who backed both leave and remain previously to vote for his party to help strengthen British democracy.
Debating Sir Vince Cable, whose manifesto for the European Union elections is titled “Bollocks to Brexit” and when asked why people should consider voting for him replied “we want to stop Brexit”, poll-topping Nigel Farage made a plea for democracy to be respected instead.
Asked by the moderator in a debate hosted by British newspaper the Daily Telegraph on why voters should consider the Brexit Party, which by the last poll before election day now stands as the would-be largest party at 37 per cent, Mr Farage said:
Democracy, it’s quite simple really. We had a referendum, a full free and fair referendum. We were told by the government whatever [the result] was, would be implemented. That couldn’t be clearer. We then had a general election in which about 75 per cent of people voted for Labour and Conservative parties, both of whom promised they would honour the referendum and deliver Brexit.
…we are a democratic country, our great tradition is that we’ve always been a great democratic country… I think this is a moment whether you’re a leaver or a remainer to say ‘promises must be kept’ because if they’re not, trust in the entire democratic system breaks down. So let’s deliver Brexit. We have a new date now, the 31st of October, we absolutely must leave on that date if we are to be in the eyes of the rest of the world a credible, democratic nation that obeys the rule of law.
Summarising his pitch later, Mr Farage continued:
There’s been too much in the past three years of what Westminster wants, and to hell with the country. The country now has a chance to speak.
…This is about freedom, independence, democracy. I can’t put a price on these things. This is so important generations that went before fought for them. That’s what we’re talking about here, we were given a choice in that referendum and career politicians are trying to prevent it. The whole thing is an outrage.
I’m appealing to you whether you voted leave or remain. It is vital that the promise that was made to the people that the referendum result be implemented, it is vital that happens. Otherwise, this country will never be the same place again.
While, as the name implies, the Brexit Party was founded last month to tackle one particular issue, it has taken aim at the democratic deficit in the country more broadly. Beyond the longstanding concerns over the debasement of British sovereignty by political rule from Brussels, Farage’s Brexit Party has also vowed to tackle the two-party system, and the failure of the Westminster establishment to represent the wishes of the British people.
Promising that a “big win” for the Brexit Party this week would kill off talk of a second referendum to overturn the first, Mr Farage said the Brexit Party was working to “fundamentally shift the political debate in this country.”
The Wednesday morning debate came after Farage rallied the Brexit Party in the last large event of the election Tuesday night, when the party leader said he was attempting to lead a peaceful revolution.
Sir Vince Cable, Farage’s main rival in the election whose Liberal Democrat party is set to place second in tomorrow’s vote, has received support from an unexpected quarter after European Union Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt travelled to London for a campaign day with the party. Meeting with Cable to help launch his Bollocks to Brexit campaign, the top Eurocrat said of the United Kingdom: “This is Europe. Europe. It’s all Europe.”