Rachel Johnson and Gavin Esler among Change UK MEP candidates in EU election launch

PUBLISHED: 12:12 23 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:34 23 April 2019

Rachel Johnson has announced she will stand as a Change UK MEP candidate in the Eu elections . Picture: PA/Stefan Rousseau

Rachel Johnson has announced she will stand as a Change UK MEP candidate in the Eu elections . Picture: PA/Stefan Rousseau

PA Wire/PA Images

Two unexpected figures have emerged - seemingly from the heart of the Brexit establishment - as pro-EU MEP candidates at Change UK's EU elections launch.

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Both Rachel Johnson, the outspoken anti-Brexit sister of Boris Johnson and regular contributor to The New European, and former BBC Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler are among the candidates to be MEPs.

Change UK, which sprung from the 11 former Tory and Labour MPs who broke from their parties to form the Independent Group in February, announced their candidates at a press conferencein Bristol today.

Johnson said at the event: “I'm sure that Boris understands why this is not a vote against Boris.

“This is a vote for change.

“We need to move the dial.

“People need to have a say.”

Veteran journalist Esler said: “I have never been a member of a political party but I am now.

“I have never been a candidate in an election but I am now.

“I have never been seriously worried about the future of our country but I am now.

“Our political system is a joke.

“It is a worldwide joke.

“They are laughing at us - not with us, at us.”

Interim party leader MP Heidi Allen told the event that 3,700 people had offered to stand as party candidates in the European elections.

“This is no rebel alliance - this is the home of the Remain alliance,” she said.

They will stand in the European elections on May 23, which look overwhelmingly likely after the Brexit delay.

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