Nigel Farage is seeking to relaunch his political career by rebranding the Brexit Party as an anti-lockdown party.
The party has formally applied to the Electoral Commission to change its name to Reform UK and will campaign against coronavirus measures.
Announcing the party’s new aims, Mr Farage – who has led UKIP several times – and Richard Tice, the Brexit Party chairman, said it will tackle several ‘powerful vested interests’.
These include ‘the House of Lords, the BBC, the way we vote, law and order, immigration’. The pair also claim ‘badly run, wasteful quangos are in abundance’.
But the party – which hopes to capitalise on anti-lockdown sentiment – believes the most pertinent issue is ‘the Government’s woeful response to coronavirus’.
The announcement follows another day of Covid news yesterday in which:
- Some 23,254 cases were reported yesterday – 17.5 per cent more than the 19,790 cases seen last Sunday;
- A further 162 people died after testing positive for coronavirus in Britain yesterday, in the highest Sunday rise seen since May;
- Prince William revealed he was secretly diagnosed with coronavirus in April;
- Britain reeled after Boris Johnson announced a four-week lockdown on Saturday;
- New restrictions will see all pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops shut;
- People can only leave their homes for specific reasons, such as to do essential shopping, for outdoor exercise, and for work if they are unable to work from home;
- Former chief scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport said there was a ‘possibility’ the restrictions may need to stay in place for more than four weeks.
Nigel Farage (pictured) is seeking to relaunch his political career by rebranding the Brexit Party as an anti-lockdown party
The announcement is set to make Boris Johnson’s life more difficult as he seeks to calm his restive MPs who oppose the new measures
Protesters gather in Birmingham to demonstrate against a second lockdown on Saturday
It claims the Government tried to ‘terrify the nation into submission’ while waiting for a vaccine which it says ‘is no way to tackle a disease that may be around for a long time’.
The party – led by Mr Farage – supports the Great Barrington Declaration which was penned by three top scientists and is now backed by more than 44,000 medics and scientists.
The letter calls for an isolation of only the elderly and vulnerable so the rest of the population can contract the virus with the hope of achieving herd immunity.
The declaration has been widely criticised, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock claiming it is ‘not true’ that herd immunity can be achieved by enough people catching coronavirus.
The announcement is set to make Boris Johnson’s life more difficult as he seeks to calm his restive MPs who oppose the new measures.
In a joint article for The Daily Telegraph, Mr Farage – who has led UKIP several times -and Mr Tice said: ‘Lockdowns don’t work: in fact, they cause more harm than good.’
Some 23,254 cases were reported on Sunday – 17.5 per cent more than the 19,790 cases seen last Sunday
A further 162 people died after testing positive for coronavirus in Britain on Sunday, in the highest Sunday rise seen since May
Announcing the party’s new aims, Mr Farage – who has led UKIP several times -and Richard Tice (pictured), the Brexit Party chairman, said it will tackle several ‘powerful vested interests’
They said the new party would back a policy of ‘focused protection’ from the virus for the most vulnerable, adding: ‘The rest of the population should, with good hygiene measures and a dose of common sense, get on with life.’
Mr Farage added: ‘We feel there is a massive political hole at the moment. The crisis has shown how badly governed we are. Brexit is the beginning of what we need. Brexit gives us self-governance – we now need to have good self-governance.’
The new party hopes to field a slate of candidates at May’s council elections, when the Tories are contesting thousands of shire seats.
Mr Farage’s previous political campaigns with both Ukip and the Brexit Party cut the Tory vote and his latest venture is likely to concern some Conservative MPs.
Mr Farage’s (pictured) previous political campaigns with both Ukip and the Brexit Party cut the Tory vote and his latest venture is likely to concern some Conservative MPs
The Brexit Party won 29 seats in last year’s European Parliament elections, held just ten weeks after it was set up. At the General Election it contested 275 seats, but took only 2 per cent of votes and did not win any seats.
Mr Farage – who has never won a seat as an MP – will hope businesses hit hard by lockdown measures will pledge support for Reform UK, including those in the hospitality industry, along with the self-employed.
Hundreds of thousands of pounds has reportedly been pledged already for the re-badged party.
A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said that if the application for a change of name contains all the information required by law it will be published online for public comment.