The Brex Factor: 2017’s 20 worst Brexiteers
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
The big guns – Boris, DD, Farage – all had pleasingly tricky years. But here STEVE ANGLESEY picks out 20 unsung zeroes who brought their side of the argument into even bigger disrepute.
20. FRANCIS BASHIR
Leader of the Royal Disciple Church, a Pakistani Christian sect which worships Nigel Farage. Congregants believe that the nicotine-stained man-frog will be sent by God to Lahore, where his arrival will usher in a new religious era.
Bashir explained: 'Jesus has guided me to pray for UKIP and Mr Farage… I know God will guide him to come to us and watch over us; many millions of people will be available when he arrives in Pakistan.'
It's hardly the first time Farage has been hailed as the Messiah. Each time he appears on Question Time, viewers cry, 'Jesus Christ, are you back again?'
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19. ALAN PIPER & GREG KNIGHT
Piper, a pub landlord standing in the General Election for UKIP in Barrow and Furness, conjured up memories of another Alan P with campaign literature which read: 'Alan's a publican. Not a politician. Clarkson without steak. Get him in there and watch the fireworks.' He also told a public meeting: 'I have a daughter by the way. 14. If FGM stood for female gob manipulation I would probably be talked into it but it doesn't.'
- 1 Tory MP blames 'chaotic parents' for children going to school hungry
- 2 Boris Johnson 'hid in bedroom' to avoid grilling on Brexit stance days before becoming PM
- 3 Tory MP says policies no longer match 'principles on which millions have backed us'
- 4 George Osborne says it is 'game over' for Boris Johnson over free school meals
- 5 Danny Dyer praised for criticisms of Tory party - pointing out Etonians can't run the country
- 6 UKIP set to select 'Dr Gammons' as candidate for London mayoral election
- 7 Liz Truss' department slammed for false claim about cost of soy sauce after Brexit
- 8 Andy Burnham could have been 'halfway through tenure as PM by now', claims commentator
- 9 Minister sparks concerns about pig semen after Brexit
- 10 Liz Truss to deliver speech rejecting 'Britain First' strategy ahead of US election
Knight, a Tory winner in East Yorkshire, filmed a campaign video including an 1980s-style disco jingle promising 'You've got accountability, With Conservative delivery, Make sure this time you get it right, Vote for Greg Knight.'
Greg's website lists one of his achievements as being 'named as one of the 50 most influential people in the Historic Vehicle movement', while on April 1 this year he issued a press release revealing that the Eiffel Tower was to be moved to Bridlington. He later told the Telegraph: 'I've never aspired to be Alan Partridge but I guess if I quit politics I can get a job at a local radio station.'
18. RICHARD BILLINGTON
UKIP bigwig in Leicestershire who emailed party members promising that they could earn thousands of pounds for doing nothing if they stood and won in May's local elections. Billington, who was himself sacked as a candidate after details of the email were revealed, wrote: 'If you want to help yourself, your family and UKIP please stand. You need to do nothing.
'If you by chance win, you can always avoid the meetings – 8 per year and still collect a few thousands £ until they ask you to leave! If the half-wits in the Lords can make money by doing nothing, so can we! It's a strange thing democracy!'
17. SUFFOLK 'KIPPER
This un-named hero managed to lose a Haverhill East council seat – considered so safe for UKIP that the Tories, Lib Dems and Greens didn't even bother standing – without even a vote being counted.
He wrote 'UKIP' rather than 'UK Independence Party' on his nomination form and was immediately disqualified under Electoral Commission rules, meaning that on May 4 Haverhill East automatically went to Labour, who previously held only two of the 72 seats in the local area. A UKIP spokesman described it as a 'minor clerical error'.
16. TERRY SANDERS
Hitherto obscure Twitter user from Luton who gave us snowflake Remoaners possibly the most convincing explanation yet of why we should shut up about the referendum. Sanders told his 570 followers: 'It seems democracy only works for the Left if they win. By Lefties I mean the people who still oppose Brexit. I wasn't a fan of Leona Lewis, but I accepted she won the X Factor.'
15. ROBERT JACKSON
Fifty-year-old Brexit-backing steelworker who told the Observer he feared immigration would cause Britain to 'fall apart'. He added: 'I really don't care where they are from.'
Robert then undermined his own argument somewhat by moaning: 'I had to pay thousands to get my wife here from Thailand. Her visa only lasts for six months and then she has to go back. And then we have to do the same thing all over again.'
14. MICHELLE BROWN
A big year for this UKIP member of the Welsh Assembly, who was forced to pay a £250 room cleaning bill after being accused of smoking cannabis in a Cardiff budget hotel (a claim she denies), secretly taped calling Chuka Umunna 'a f***ing coconut' and asked to explain why she's given her brother, formerly employed at a garage, an £18,000-a-year role as a Welsh Assembly-funded caseworker. Brown was recorded saying: 'I've given Richard the job. He's got no experience, he's got no qualifications for it.'
13. LAURE FERRARI
A French former waitress who now runs the pro-Brexit Institute For Direct Democracy In Europe, Ferrari published a remarkable think-piece comparing Britain's relationship with the EU to an unhappy marriage. She wrote that they 'should have maintained a discreet relationship, based on mutual esteem and respect but marriage, a disaster… The divorce must be seen as an opportunity. The cleaner and quicker the break, the better.'
The 37-year-old's source of inspiration became clearer when it was revealed that she was sharing a Mayfair flat with the married Nigel Farage.
12. ROBERT HALL-PALMER
Exceptional UKIP election candidate for Nottingham East whose election leaflet is reproduced here in its entirety: 'The statue of Robin Hood was donated by the Clay family. The bow and arrow were often being broken off, my family legend goes my grandfather acting for the Clay's came up with the idea of replacing the lower section of the bow and arrow in steel. The sun used to shine on this although it has recently been painted.
'I would remove the upper bronze half and replace it with steel to complete and balance the statue. This is the sort of common sense I would apply to all problems in the constituency to bring improvement.'
What the Friar Tuck was all that about?
11. CATHERINE BLAIKLOCK & BILL ETHERIDGE
Failed UKIP parliamentary candidates who went the extra mile to prove the party was not racist. Etheridge, who lost in Dudley North and once wrote a book about golliwogs, said holding his campaign launch in a curry house should 'put it to bed once and for all', while Great Yarmouth's Blaiklock took a blown-up photograph of her Jamaican husband along to hustings and told voters: 'I sleep with somebody who is black.'
10. REVEREND PHILIP FOWLES
The Anglican cleric from Bristol sent anti-Brexit Tory MP Anna Soubry an email ending with the words 'May you burn in hell you evil bitch!' – a surprising twist on the usual 'Amen'.
Rev Fowles also called Soubry 'a traitor to the British people', 'a disgrace to our great party' and 'a desperate and treacherous politician'. Brilliantly, his message was sent via his day job at the St Monica Trust charity, meaning the rant concluded with the trust's motto 'Delivering Well-Being'.
The Lord giveth but alas He also taketh away, and the Rev ended up suspended from his job.
9. JANICE ATKINSON
Former UKIP MEP who called for suicide bombers to suffer the death penalty. 'Some will argue I'm inhumane,' she said, gloriously failing to spot the teensy flaw in her logic.
8. JOHN REES-EVANS
Failed UKIP leadership candidate whose manifesto advocated a new social media network for 'Kippers – maybe they could call it Racebook – plus confusing pledges to 'defend our ancient constitution' and to 'reboot our ancient constitution'.
Alas, Rees-Evans' candidacy was dogged by his assertion that he has once prevented a gay donkey from sexually assaulting his horse. He said: 'I've got a horse, it was in the fields, and a donkey came up – my horse is a stallion. A donkey came up which is male, and I'm afraid tried to rape my horse. My horse bit the side of the donkey, and I had to give my horse a slap to protect the donkey.'
7. THE LATE PRINCESS DIANA
Asserted her support for Brexit from beyond the grave in an interview with 'psychic healer' Simone Simmons, who told MailOnline: 'I know a lot of people aren't going to like it but she said we've got to vote for Brexit. She was interested in the referendum and suggested I vote to leave because Britain was really great before the EU.'
Oddly, this sensational scoop was the most believable thing the Mail published about Brexit all year…
6. CRAIG McKINLAY
Brexit-loving South Thanet MP who used a Tory conference fringe speech to declare that unemployed young Scots should 'get on your bike' and pick fruit alongside 'gorgeous EU women' on Kent fruit farms.
Mackinlay claimed British workers would fill jobs left behind by departing European citizens after Brexit, saying: 'Why wouldn't a youngster from Glasgow without a job come down to the south to work for a farm in the summer with loads of gorgeous EU women working there? Get on your bike and find a job.' He neglected to mention that all the gorgeous EU women would probably already have gone home because of Brexit – unless we introduce a Highly Gorgeous Migrant Visa alongside the promised Highly Skilled version.
5. HUGH WHITTOW
Editor of the abysmal Daily Express, forced by press watchdog IPSO to publish two front-page corrections inside a week over 'misleading and inaccurate' Brexit stories.
Whittow also published a column arguing that the worldwide shortage of courgettes might be 'a crafty way to punish Britain for daring to leave the European Union' and an article headlined 'End freedom of movement: Pressure mounts on May to SCRAP Schengen IMMEDIATELY' – a bold ambition since Britain actually isn't in the Schengen area to begin with.
4. ROGER HELMER
The former UKIP MEP, who resigned his seat in a matter entirely unconnected to an EU probe into his expenses, spent months raging against evidence that Earth's oceans are becoming more acidic. Ignoring the pH scale familiar to all primary school children, he insisted on Twitter that 'oceans cannot be MORE acidic, because they are not acidic at all. Slightly alkaline.'
Helmer also revealed back in January that, 'having done family Christmases for more decades than I care to remember, I decided to have a change in 2016, and to become a refugee from Christmas.' Searching for the ideal spot to avoid all mention of the birth of Jesus Christ, he went on holiday to Bethlehem, birthplace of Jesus Christ, and reported back that it was 'a predominantly Christian city, and there were parades and marching bands… so I did not avoid the event entirely'.
3. AIDAN POWLESLAND
Failed to win the coveted UKIP leadership despite a manifesto which was literally out of this world: No more child benefits, tax credits, rail subsidies, maternity and paternity benefits and overseas aid. Powlesland wanted the BBC's budget cut in half and everyone to pay £15 each time they saw a doctor.
He advocated spending the savings on a £25 billion secret underwater missile base in the Falklands, a £5 billion asteroid belt mining rocket, a flying aircraft carrier and the design of an interstellar space rocket. In a rare moment of clarity, he wrote: 'Of all the candidates I am the most painful candidate to vote for.'
2. YO. CEDAR
American author of God's Hand in Brexit, which argues that the big man upstairs was behind the referendum result. Cedar assured readers that Our Heavenly Father is 'faithfully working behind the scenes as we fervently pray that our nation will turn in its God-given direction, outside of the EU, once again embracing its Judeo-Christian morals and heritage' and that once the Brexit process was completed 'care homes would no longer be needed… there would be less strain on the National Health Service as believers lay hands on the sick'.
1. GISELA ALLEN
An unsuccessful UKIP council candidate in Glasgow, the 84-year-old called for capital punishment by guillotine for murderers, euthanasia rather than 'spending a fortune' on kidney and heart transplants and castration for violent offenders. She also declared herself sexually attracted to gorillas, saying: 'When I go to a zoo and I see a gorilla my hormones go absolutely crazy. I find a gorilla very attractive.'