Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage believes the Tories will be “obliterated” if they continue to resist delivering Brexit and treating their own base with “contempt”.
In an exclusive interview with James Delingpole for Breitbart News, the veteran MEP said he did not believe new leadership after Theresa May finally leaves the stage will be a panacea.
“Just changing the leader is not enough,” he asserted, describing a “fundamental breakdown of trust between conservative voters and the Conservative Party” much worse than anything the party experienced even in 1997, when Labour’s Tony Blair swept them out of office in a landslide.
“What I’ve been getting for six months on LBC is people saying I’ll never vote for them again as long as I live,” he explained.
“One half of the party hates the other half of the party, they treat their own grassroots with contempt, they still treat Brexiteers as if they’re the lower orders, basically,” he suggested.
He indicated that it would take a leader of “astonishing courage and vision” to save the party — but that he was not sure he could see this even among the Brexiteer contenders, particularly as frontrunners like Esther McVey, Boris Johnson, and Dominic Raab all ultimately backed Theresa May’s “appalling” withdrawal treaty when she tried for a third time –without success — to get it through Parliament.
Mr Farage was also incredulous that other prominent Tory leadership candidates like Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt — a Remain voter — are still making public pronouncements about how the party will be “annihilated” if it dares to run on a WTO — or No Deal — Brexit platform in a general election.
This, he explained, was more or less the exact platform his Brexit Party won the European Parliament elections on, adding that he had “only got back in this because [the Tories] dropped the ball”.
He also explained why he had described his new Brexit Party as “classical liberal”, saying “freedom of speech is clearly a very important part of what we do, the choice of the individual, respecting the fact that other people have different points of view” — and suggesting that this was why it was able to attract people from such a broad spectrum of political views.
“Classical liberalism is about respecting other people and their rights to live their life and hold their views,” he said.
In terms of his own political inspiration, Farage did not shy away from a straight answer: “Margaret”.
He discussed how late British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher had been the last person to unite aspirational working-class voters and entrepreneurs, and that he hoped to appeal to 5.4 million small business owners, whether they ran a carpentry firm or an online operation from their own bedroom, as she had.
Mr Farage observed that such people “provide two-thirds of the jobs” in the United Kingdom, but that the governing class do not appear to understand them,
“All we do as part of the European Single Market is just pile regulation upon regulation on them,” he lamented, saying he wanted to “start to present Brexit as a fantastic opportunity” to them — and pinpointing Theresa May’s apparent view of Brexit as a mere “damage limitation” as her downfall.
In comments made before Mr Farage met with Donald Trump in London this week, the Brexit Party leader also touched briefly on his relationship with the U.S. President, and how they have been able to build such a strong rapport, suggesting that the American leader “sees me as a campaigner for Brexit; he sees me as a campaigner for the nation-state and not these awful supranational structures run by horrible bureaucrats”.
He also suggested a simple answer to the President’s growing approval ratings, despite years of negative press from the mainstream media: “[H]e’s keeping his promises. In this country, the Labour and Conservative parties produce things they call manifestos without even having the intention of carrying out what they’ve told the electorate”.