Humiliated Nigel Farage drops out of Brexit Party rally after MEPs resign

Nigel Farage appears on the Andrew Marr show. Photo: Jeff Overs / BBC.

Nigel Farage appears on the Andrew Marr show. Photo: Jeff Overs / BBC. - Credit: PA

Nigel Farage has pulled out of speaking at a Brexit Party rally 24 hours after four members of his party resigned and gave their support to the Tories.

The Brexit Party said he is not "running scared" and suggest his cancellation was because Farage feared his attendance would be a "distraction".

The party leader was billed to speak at an event at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster but failed to turn up, the PA reports.

Farage has had a tough week after four MEPs walked out of the fledgling outfit to campaign for prime minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal.

Annunziata Rees-Mogg, sister of Tory House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, along with Lance Forman and Lucy Harris all resigned the whip, while John Longworth, who was sacked for having "repeatedly undermined" Mr Farage's election strategy, confirmed he was formally leaving the party.

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Answering questions about the no-show, a party spokesman said Farage felt his presence would be a "distraction" at the event following the resignations.

"This was an event about defence but if Nigel was here every question would have been about the defections," the spokesman said.

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"No-one can accuse him of running scared after what he faced yesterday, doing interviews with Andrew Neil, Jeremy Vine, Iain Dale and ITV's Emma Murphy. He feels he has covered it all now."

Brexit Party defence spokeswoman Ann Widdecombe led the speeches at the rally in Farage's absence, setting out the Eurosceptic party's position on security matters.

In a nod to the defections, London MEP Ben Habib introduced Widdecombe - a former Conservative minister - by saying he could "confirm she won't be defecting to the Tory Party any time soon".

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