Friday, 10 Apr 2020

Is this an olive branch to the Brexit Party? Javid praises Farage

Is this an olive branch to the Brexit Party? Sajid Javid praises Nigel Farage for leaving Ukip as it shifted to the far-right with appointment of EDL founder Tommy Robinson

  • Sajid Javid praised Nigel Farage for leaving Ukip as it lurched to the far-Right
  • Mr Javid outlined plans to tackle those who spread extremist ‘poison’
  • His remarks will be seen by some in Westminster as the Tories extending an olive branch to the Brexit Party ahead of a possible general election in the autumn 

Home Secretary Sajid Javid heaped praise on Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party yesterday – defiantly insisting that they were not extremist.

In a keynote speech in London, he said Mr Farage ‘deserved credit’ for leaving Ukip as it lurched to the far-Right when taken over by Gerard Batten and Tommy Robinson.

Mr Javid made the surprise intervention as he outlined his plans to tackle those who spread extremist ‘poison’.

His remarks will be seen by some in Westminster as the Tories extending an olive branch to the Brexit Party ahead of a possible general election in the autumn.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid heaped praise on Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party yesterday – defiantly insisting that they were not extremist 

In May’s European elections, the Brexit Party helped to condemn the Conservatives to their worst result at the ballot box for nearly 200 years. 

Mr Farage’s troops polled 31 per cent, leaving the Tories in fifth place on just nine per cent as voters punished Theresa May for her failure to leave the EU. 

Boris Johnson, who is hot favourite to be crowned Tory leader on Tuesday, has ruled out an electoral pact with the Brexit Party as he promises to restore the Conservatives’ battered fortunes.

But if he fails to keep his pledge to deliver Brexit by October 31, the Tories risk being consigned to history by voters flocking to Mr Farage in a subsequent election.

In his speech, Mr Javid said: ‘Around the world, populism and even open racism, have catapulted extremists to power.

‘I am proud to say, this has not happened in mainstream politics here.

‘We are naturally liberally minded people. We remain the most successful multi-racial democracy in the world.’

He said Ukip had ‘floundered’ since shifting towards the far-Right, with leader Mr Batten being advised by racist EDL founder Robinson – real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – who was sent to prison last week for nine months for contempt of court. Mr Farage has denounced his former party’s shift.

Nigel Farage speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, July 2019

Mr Javid said: ‘We must give credit where credit is due. So I applaud Nigel Farage for walking away, branding Ukip thugs and extremists. Even though his Brexit Party has not made my life any easier, I want to be clear: They are not extremists. It doesn’t help to exaggerate the problem, to demonise anyone with a different view and to see danger when it is not there.’

Mr Farage has been criticised in the past for encouraging extremism with anti-immigrant rhetoric, including the notorious ‘Breaking Point’ poster that was used in the EU referendum campaign.

He has said he would be open to a deal with the Tories once Theresa May stands down.

Mr Farage welcomed Mr Javid’s comments, tweeting: ‘So there is some decency left in politics.’

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