Gerard Batten: UKIP is ‘true voice’ of Brexit’s leave voters

UKIP leader Gerard Batten has launched his party’s European elections campaign, insisting that UKIP is "the true voice of leave voters.”

Gerard Batten | Photo credit: Press Association

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

02 May 2019

The MEP, speaking at the launch in the north east of England on Wednesday, sought to counter the threat from Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.

Batten, whose party has been greatly reduced in the European Parliament after defections, insisted UKIP still had a future.

It follows criticism from Farage, who said his former party had been “destroyed by a lurch towards extremism.”


According to the latest polls, UKIP will win just 6 percent of seats compared with the Brexit party’s 23 percent.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Theresa May says the Government and the Labour Party, currently engaged in cross-party talks to find a Brexit compromise, are “trying to achieve similar aims in the area of customs, which is to protect jobs.”

On Wednesday, she told the Commons Liaison Select committee that there is “a greater commonality in terms of some of the benefits of the customs union” that the two sides identified.

The UK has been granted an extension to its EU exit and May and Corbyn are using the time to try to find a resolution to the latest Brexit impasse.

"Batten, whose party has been greatly reduced in the European Parliament after defections, insisted UKIP still had a future"

The Withdrawal Agreement reached between the EU and UK after two years of discussions has been rejected by the Commons on three occasions.

May, in her address to the committee, also said that if a deal cannot be agreed with Labour, the Government “will bring votes on Brexit options to the House of Commons in order to determine what the House will support.”

“We stand ready to abide by that decision if the opposition are willing to do so,” she said.

Asked why the Government had not yet published the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, May explained that there is still ongoing work, including an incorporation of the amendment tabled by Labour MPs Gareth Snell and Lisa Nandy, which ensures MPs can have a say on the next phase of Brexit negotiations.

It is also believed that the emergency general meeting on May’s leadership, organised by the Conservative Party grassroots, will be delayed until at least the second week of June, in order to give her enough time to host the visit of US President Donald Trump.

A non-binding vote will be held at the meeting indicating the level of support for May’s leadership among constituency chairpersons.

Elsewhere, the UK Department of Transport has announced that it has cancelled contracts with two ferry companies which would have provided extra ferry services in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The move is expected to cost the taxpayer more than £50m.

UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said that the contracts had been part of an “insurance policy” for a no-deal outcome, adding “people would expect a responsible government” to do so.

Andy McDonald, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary said, “Chris Grayling and the ferry contracts will for evermore be a case study in Ministerial incompetence.”

He added, “The Transport Secretary’s approach to procurement and planning has cost taxpayers tens, if not, hundreds of millions of pounds. His career as a minister has left a trail of scorched earth and billions of pounds of public money wasted. This country cannot afford Chris Grayling.”

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