Brexit Party chairman left squirming by Nigel Farage’s comments about EU referendum

Richard Tice is interviewed by Mehdi Hasan. Photograph: Al Jazeera.

Richard Tice is interviewed by Mehdi Hasan. Photograph: Al Jazeera. - Credit: Archant

Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice has been left squirming by comments made by his own organisation's leader about the EU referendum.

Interviewed by Al Jazeera's Mehdi Hasan, Tice said that the EU referendum was "where parliament had outsourced the decision to the people", and their view must stand.

But prompted by Hasan to acknowledge it was an advisory referendum, he called the suggestion "nonsense".

"It's not nonsense," responded the presenter, "it was an advisory referendum, was it not?"

Tice instead referenced the £9 million leaflet sent to every home, but the presenter wanted to continue to question him on this point.

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"The government sent out a leaflet, but the law - the EU Referendum Act 2015 - made it clear it was an advisory referendum. Your leader Nigel Farage said it an advisory referendum."

"People have a right to trust what the government writes to them about," Tice continued.

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"But under law, it was an advisory referendum, can we agree on that?" replied Hasan.

"Let's agree on that," said Tice, before explaining: "If you write to the people, and you say that we will implement your decision - and it's a once in a generation decision - and you then renege on that it's not surprising we face the biggest lack of trust or betrayal of trust in this country."

Tice was then asked why his organisation was so opposed to a second referendum.

"If you'd lost the referendum campaign 52% to 48% instead of winning it as you did 52% to 48% you'd have been calling for another referendum too?" questioned Hasan.

"No we wouldn't... that's just a complete nonsense" insisted Tice.

"Why did Nigel Farage - the leader of your party - say in May 2016 a month before the referendum 'in a 52% to 48% referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way'?"

To laughter from the audience, he said: "Did he? I'm not Nigel Farage, I didn't hear him say it".

The presenter continues: "Richard, the way quotes work whether you heard them or not is irrelevant, he did say it, to the Mirror. He's never denied saying it... you can't just disown the leader of your party when he says something awkward!"

But Tice continued: "The way democracy works is you have elections every five years, right? So if you lose an election you try and do better next time, but you have a thing called loser's consent."

"And your party leader said you would not abide by that if you lost," continued Hasan.

"Democracy only works in this country if losers accept they lost," said the Brexit Party chairman.

The presenter claimed he agreed. "But your party leader said if the Remain campaign wins two-thirds to one thirds that ends it. You didn't win two-thirds to one-third. So it's not over according to Nigel Farage."

But a frustrated Tice said: "I don't have to agree with everything Nigel Farage has said" before making the point that we don't have general elections "and then say I didn't like the result so we can have another..."

To applause the presenter intervened to point out we had one in 2015, 2017 and we could have another in the next month.

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