June 14. 2024. 2:22

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Brexit champion Nigel Farage to stand in UK election with his own party


Nigel Farage, the colourful politician who helped champion Britain’s departure from the European Union, said on Monday (3 June) he would stand as a candidate in next month’s election and will lead the Reform Party in a blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The decision by Farage, now a TV host and previously honorary president of Reform, will boost his movement’s profile and challenge Sunak’s governing Conservatives for the support of right-leaning voters.

The Reform Partry was founded by Catherine Blaiklock with support from Farage in November 2018 as the Brexit Party, advocating hard Euroscepticism and a no-deal Brexit. It won the United Kingdom’s component of the 2019 European Parliament election, but failed to win any seats at the 2019 general election.

Farage, 60, had previously said he would not stand in the 4 July vote in order to help his friend Donald Trump fight the US election later this year.

“I’ve decided I’ve changed my mind,” Farage told a news conference. “It’s not always a sign of weakness, it could potentially be a sign of strength.”

Farage has stood unsuccessfully for parliament seven times but is still one of the most influential British politicians of his generation, putting pressure on a succession of prime ministers to take tougher positions on Europe and immigration.

Selling Brexit

Shunned by the British political establishment and backed by Eurosceptic financiers, Farage helped sell Brexit to millions of voters in England and Wales who felt ignored by the main Conservative and Labour parties.

At the last general election in 2019, Farage’s party decided not to contest seats held by the Conservatives, then led by Boris Johnson, to avoid splitting the pro-Brexit vote.

Polls suggest the opposition Labour Party is on course for victory this time, with the Conservatives staring at one of the worst results in their history.

Support for Reform runs at about 10% nationally, giving the party the third highest vote share, polls show.

But under Britain’s winner-takes-all system, the party had not been expected win any seats.

Under pressure, Sunak has already tried to win over voters tempted by Reform with policies such as tax cuts for pensioners and the reintroduction of national service.

Asked on Monday if he was worried about Farage entering the contest, Sunak said a vote for Reform would help the opposition Labour Party win the election

Read more with Euractiv

Poland’s Tusk and conservative PiS neck-and-neck ahead of EU vote

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The European elections in Poland are set to be another battle between the two main rival parties, with all polls showing a neck-and-neck race between Jarosław Kaczyński’s conservative PiS (ECR) and Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Coalition (KO, EPP).

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