Brexit Party MEP denies Nigel Farage ‘bottled it’ by standing down candidates
- Credit: BBC
A Brexit Party MEP who previously complained about being disenfranchised after Nigel Farage withdrew 317 candidates has now said that standing them down was the party's way of 'standing our ground'.
Alex Phillips, Brexiteer MEP for the South East, responded to the accusation that her leader had "bottled it" and bowed to rightwing pressure to withdraw candidates.
"Your party leader bottled it, and in the process disenfranchised you," was the charge laid at Phillips' feet by Radio Five Live's Emma Barnett.
Farage withdrew 317 candidates last month after clamour grew in the Brexiteer press over whether or not his party would split the rightwing vote.
MORE: 'STAND DOWN, NIGEL!': Right-wing newspaper in front-page Brexit panicAt the time, Phillips said: "I have been disenfranchised by my own party" and anounced that she would not be voting - leading to an unseemly spat on Twitter with fellow Brexit Party MEP Lance Forman.
MORE: Brexit Party MEPs in Twitter row over whether or not to voteBut Phillips now claims she is Farage's "closest ally" and said the pressure on the party from the press had been too much to ignore.
"What, from the Daily Mail? Couldn't you have handled it?" asked Barnett.
You may also want to watch:
Phillips said the Mail's efforts - which included publishing candidates' email addresses was an "egregious" gesture that amounted to encouraging people to "harangue and harass".
She added that standing all 650 candidates would have risked letting a Remain coalition form.
- 1 Piers Morgan must expose the government's Brexit betrayal
- 2 Public slams Brexit Party tweet which shames Tory MPs who voted against free school meals
- 3 Brexiteer Prue Leith quits Tory Party after government votes down motion to protect UK food standards
- 4 Peers set to remove law-breaking sections of Boris Johnson's Brexit bill
- 5 Boris Johnson 'frantically repositioning' himself for Donald Trump to lose election
- 6 Boris Johnson warned majority will be 'wiped out' over treatment towards north of England
- 7 UKIP set to select 'Dr Gammons' as candidate for London mayoral election
- 8 James Cleverly mocked after telling people to 'look at how they're doing in Wales'
- 9 Minister says Dido Harding is working '19-hours a day' on Test and Trace
- 10 Michel Barnier postpones Brussels return as Brexit trade talks in London continue
"Standing our ground is, in some respects, having to swallow the sad fact that we have had to step back," she said.
Asked whether she now trusts Farage, Phillips said: "I'm Nigel's closest ally so I'm hardly going to turn round and say I don't trust him."
She said she would not be voting and added: "I think there will be people up and down the country in the same position as me."
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.