Nigel Farage: I was joking when I promised a Brexit Party manifesto
PUBLISHED: 10:03 12 November 2019 | UPDATED: 18:42 12 November 2019
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Nigel Farage has admitted that he never intended to publish a manifesto for the Brexit Party, saying "that was a joke".
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The Brexit Party leader also said he was not going to refund the application fees of the 317 parliamentary candidates who he has decided to stand down.
Farage made the decision over the weekend after facing calls not to split the Brexiteer vote in the general election.
MORE: 'STAND DOWN, NIGEL!': Right-wing newspaper in front-page Brexit panic
Farage was grilled about the seriousness of the party following this decision by LBC's Eddie Mair, and revealed that he never intended to publish a manifesto.
This is despite a promise made while campaigning for the EU elections on May 23, in which his party won 29 seats.
In April, Farage responded to a question about his party's manifesto by saying: "We will talk about all those things after the 23rd of May."
MORE: Nigel Farage REFUSES to publish a Brexit Party manifesto until after EU elections
Farage has since said that he'll issue a "contract" with the British people.
Repeating the assertion on LBC, he said: "I will publish a contract with the British people, never a manifesto. That's a horrible, horrible word that equates to 'lie'."
Asked again about his promise before the EU elections, he responded: "That was a joke. 'After the elections' was a joke."
He deflected the discussion, saying his party had put the provision of mobile phone and broadband connectivity onto the political agenda.
Asking Farage about the £100 application fees paid by prospective candidates, Farage said he was not going to refund any.
Last week, 317 candidates were stood down, out of a total of 3,000 people who applied. Each one paid £100 to be considered.
Former candidates have expressed disappointment at the decision and about being left out of pocket.
MORE: Rejected Brexit Party candidate says Farage owes him £10,000 as he suggests UKIP pactAsked about refunding that cash, Farage said: "Of course not. We're a political party set up to deliver a proper Brexit. We have reset the political agenda this year in the most astonishing way."
He was pressed by Mair, who said: "You said they would stand, last week, in the face of everyone who said this was madness, and you said 'no no, 600 candidates, unless Boris Johnson backs down'. He didn't back down. Are you going to - you can't blame the EU for this, you can't blame Theresa May for this. Why don't you open your chequebook and refund the money [to the people] you've let down?"
Farage said that Johnson's position had changed "very fundamentally".
"Are you going to bottle refunding their money as well?"
"I'm not going to refund their money, they put their faith in me to do the right thing. And the vast majority of them this afternoon agree with what I've done."
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