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Nigel Farage eyes seat at Brexit negotiation table

He described Theresa May’s current proposed deal as a ‘new European treaty’.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage predicted success for his party (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage predicted success for his party (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

Nigel Farage is to demand his Brexit Party becomes part of the Government negotiating team if it is successful in the forthcoming European elections.

He said Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal, which has already suffered three defeats in Parliament, is a “new European treaty”.

But asked if he wants to be prime minister, he added: “No, not particularly.”

Speaking on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, Mr Farage said: “We’ve got a two-party system that now serves nothing but itself.

“There is a complete breakdown of trust between the people in this country and our politicians, and frankly they revealed themselves to be grossly incompetent.

“What I do want to see from this European election, if we can win these elections, absolutely I’m going to demand that Brexit Party MEPs become part of the Government negotiating team and we can perhaps talk some sense into them.”

Asked why he did not advocate a no-deal Brexit at the time of the EU referendum in 2016, he said it was “because it was obvious that we could do a free trade deal”.

He said: “The problem is the Prime Minister never asked for it, so we finished up in the mess that we’re in.

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Nigel Farage has predicted success for his Brexit Party at the upcoming European elections (PA)

“She chose to go for this close and special partnership. Basically right from the start she was happy for us to be kept very close to the customs union. So where we are now, the only way the democratic will of the people can be delivered is to leave on a WTO (World Trade Organisation) deal.”

The Prime Minister, he argued, “has wilfully deceived us”, adding: “What she’s put to Parliament three times isn’t a deal, it’s a new European treaty. I didn’t spend 25 years campaigning to leave the EU to sign up to a new treaty.

“The only way we can deliver the democratic will of the people is to leave on WTO terms, and I’ll tell you something, once we do that the EU will be banging our door down to have a sensible tariff-free deal.

“This is our chance to break free of a failing political project to open ourselves up to the rest of the world, to get some self-confidence back in who we are as a country.

“The problem is this. The country very clearly wants us to stand up and be who we are. Our political class do not believe in Britain, they simply don’t think we’re good enough to run our own affairs.”

Mr Farage acknowledged leaving the EU on WTO terms could lead to “some short-term economic disruption”, adding “moving house leads to short-term disruption, this is our future”.

He insisted: “If we had a second referendum, I think Leave would win by a bigger margin.”

Mr Farage said he is “mentally preparing myself for one”, adding: “I’m thinking we may well have it forced upon us.”

He was also asked about his past comments on NHS privatisation, climate change, gun control, immigration and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Reacting angrily, he said: “All you want to do is go back to stuff from years ago, why don’t we talk about now in British politics?

“I think you’re all in for a bigger surprise on Thursday than you can even imagine.”

But Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson said Mr Farage represented “the very worst of British politics”.

Ms Swinson criticised his refusal to “own up to well-documented and abhorrent views on NHS privatisation, his admiration for Vladimir Putin and his denial of the facts about climate change during the interview.

She said: “Despite his claims to the contrary, everyone remembers that he promised in 2016 that there would be an amazing cost-free Brexit deal available to Britain if we voted to leave the EU.

“To say today that he always advocated ‘no deal’ is a mark of just how shameless he is, and how little he cares for the jobs and livelihoods of the people of this country.

“There is one thing Nigel Farage cares passionately about and that is Nigel Farage.”

PA

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