Marchers on a two-week Brexit protest were confronted with signs asking ‘where’s Nigel?’ as they marched through the north of England without figurehead Nigel Farage.
The former UKIP leader spearheaded the ‘Brexit Betrayal March’ from Sunderland on Saturday in heavy wind and rain, but was not present as it continued south through Middlesbrough.
The protest will culminate in London on March 29, the day Britain is due to leave the European Union, where Mr Farage is expected to rejoin the group for a mass rally in Parliament Square.
The demonstrators have been met along the way by anti-Brexit campaigners Led By Donkeys, who have placed billboards on the route taking aim at Farage.
In a tweet, the group said: ‘An opportunist politician conceived a scheme that was undeliverable. He persuaded members of the public to make sacrifices to further it and recruited millionaires to bankroll it. And when it failed he simply walked away. The #MarchToLeave is just a 14 day metaphor for Brexit.’
Led By Donkeys also posted drone footage which appeared to show a crowd of dozens of demonstrators, claiming Farage should ‘apologise to those marchers for this farce’.
But Richard Tice, co-chair of Leave Means Leave, which is organising the rally, tweeted: ‘Huge support in Middlesbrough on March to Leave day 2. Ordinary voters furious at parliament betraying Brexit.’
He claimed on Channel 4 News that a ‘thousand’ had turned out on the first day – but as other leading supporters acknowledged, numbers failed to top 200.