Tories and Labour ‘will be very worried’ by Brexit Party candidate, says Farage
Businessman Mike Greene is standing for Nigel Farage’s new party in its first shot at a Westminster seat.
Nigel Farage has said he believes the Tories and Labour will be “very worried” by the presence of a Brexit Party candidate in the Peterborough by-election.
Businessman Mike Greene, 54, who has appeared on Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire, will stand for Mr Farage’s new party in its first shot at a seat in Westminster.
The city’s by-election on June 6 will find a replacement for MP Fiona Onasanya who lost her seat through a recall petition after serving time in prison for lying about a speeding offence.
Ms Onasanya, who was elected as a Labour MP in 2017, said she would not stand in the by-election.
Mr Farage said he would not make any “silly predictions” about how his party would fare in the by-election, but added: “I think we’re going to do very well.
“We’re going to give it our best shot but that’s the best I can say at this stage.
“We’ll give it our best shot and I think the Conservative and Labour parties will be very worried by the presence of Mike Greene as we’ve got a candidate who’s extremely well-known and respected in this constituency.”
Speaking at an event to launch his election campaign, Mr Greene said: “I find it quite disgusting in a way, a disgrace that this by-election even has to happen.
“The people of Peterborough chose Fiona Onasanya in good faith that she would work for them, would deliver for them and I never saw her in this city … in fact we heard more about her as a city when she was in prison than we ever did when she was an MP.”
The lifelong Conservative voter said he first met Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice “a week ago last Sunday”, then had dinner with Mr Farage after a Brexit Party rally in Peterborough on Tuesday.
BREXIT PARTY PRESS CONFERENCE - PETERBOROUGH CANDIDATE https://t.co/8r00fwnfpu— The Brexit Party (@brexitparty_uk) May 9, 2019
“The reason I support the Brexit Party is they’re the only party that in my view has absolute clarity and focus on what Brexit is,” he said.
“We need to write our own laws, we need to be in control of our own trade, we need to be in control of our own borders.”
He added that he had “always been passionate about politics but I’m not a politician”.
“I want to use my business experience to make things happen,” he said.
“I want to use my lack of political experience to question why things go so slowly.”
He spoke of his desire to create a university in Peterborough, having been to a tough school after moving to the city aged 11.
Asked why he was standing, he said: “If you don’t stand for something, you’re going to fall for anything and I can no longer fall for the lies, betrayal and deceit that our current political parties give in this country.”
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson said she was still “very hopeful” the pro-Remain parties – including Change UK – could unite behind a single candidate in the by-election.
“I expect the discussions that we have been having on having a Remain candidate for the Peterborough by-election will come to fruition,” she told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One.
“Achieving any of this when you are getting different parties to work together, it is not always straightforward but I think it is worth doing.
“What we are trying to achieve is bigger than any one party. We are trying to stop Brexit, which is such a catastrophic path for our country to go down.”
Labour’s candidate Lisa Forbes said: “Having lived in Peterborough my whole adult life, and speaking to voters every day, I’m going to be campaigning on the issues that I know matter to local people.
“We need to stop the rise in crime, improve our underfunded schools, and end fly tipping and littering.
“These are the things that matter to people in Peterborough and if elected MP they will be my top priorities.”
All candidates for the by-election have to be declared before 4pm on Thursday, which is the deadline for nominations.
Candidates announced so far include Paul Bristow for the Conservatives, Beki Sellick for the Lib Dems, Joseph Wells for the Greens, John Whitby for Ukip, Patrick O’Flynn for the SDP and Alan ‘Howling Laud’ Hope for the Monster Raving Loony Party.
Renew, UKEUP and Change UK have also indicated plans to field a candidate.