Rift over fresh referendum leaves Brexit talks running out of road

Clay Curtis
May 14, 2019

Former UKIP leader Farage formed the Brexit Party in January 2019 in response to what many Brits felt, and still feel, is the lack of serious progress made in Brexit negotiations by Theresa May's Conservative Party.

The Brexit Party's candidate in the Peterborough by-election could only say that he hadn't "gone into the detail" when he was asked to back up claims that the European Union gives us less control in addressing education and child poverty.

While the Brexit Party has been touted as likely to garner major support from the British public in the upcoming May 23 European Parliamentary elections, this is the first time that data suggests the newcomer could perform with major success in a general election.

"I don't think anyone's in any doubt these are going to be hard elections for us", Damian Hinds, the education minister in Prime Minister May's Cabinet, told the BBC Sunday.

He told the programme: 'I can not imagine for one minute that Theresa May is going to want to go to the next Conservative party conference in October and address it as leader.

"The longer Theresa May is in denial about the danger her party faces, the harder it will be to recover lost voters - and the more likely the Brexit Party will succeed in its aim of getting a foothold in Westminster".

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Two parties which support staying in the European Union, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, were on 15 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC, the party leader said: "There is one person who has given a big amount of money who named himself, he didn't need to, because this all gets registered with the Electoral Commission". Labour and the Tories are polling just 26% combined.

According to the latest Opinium poll for The Observer newspaper, the Brexit Party is well ahead with 34% of the vote. Change UK, a new political party - which is campaigning to remain in the European Union and for a second referendum - set up by former Labour and Conservative MPs has so far failed to make the headway it had hoped, commanding just 4 per cent support, putting it neck-and-neck with UKIP. The country was due to leave the bloc on March 29, but now has a new departure date of October 31, although that date could be pushed back, too. The opposition Labour Party was down five points on 16 per cent.

Expectations from the election have also piled pressure on the Labour Party around its stance on Brexit, its ongoing talks with the government and whether it should demand a public confirmatory vote no matter what the deal agreed with the government is. In an interview with The Guardian, Labour's Shadow Minister on Brexit Keir Starmer insisted that any deal had to include a confirmatory vote, and urged those who were considering voting for "Remain"-supporting parties to support Labour, insisting it was the only party capable of delivering on a second referendum".

Indeed, the Conservative Party has been running a particularly understated campaign, with voters across many parts of the country reporting that they had received no flyers at all from the party.

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