Nigel Farage will seek a place at the Brexit negotiating table if his nascent political party comes out top in the European elections.
Brexiteer Nigel Farage will seek a place at the Brexit negotiating table if his nascent political party comes out top in the European elections.
He made the claim as Theresa May’s de facto deputy – David Lidington – appearing to admit defeat in avoiding the May 23 poll.
Farage's Brexit Party, founded earlier this year amid the ongoing stalemate over the UK's divorce deal with the EU, is currently leading the polls.
"In terms of legitimacy, if the Brexit Party wins this election arguing for a WTO Brexit, and we get significant support and we win, I think we will have democratic legitimacy to have a say in how we proceed from here," said Farage at a press conference on Tuesday.
"The new date we have is 31 October. We absolutely believe that the UK must, must, must leave on that date. And if we were part of that discussion, I think we could offer them a very sensible way forward."
It comes as the ruling Conservatives and opposition Labour continue talks aimed at breaking the deadlock around PM May's Brexit deal.
"It is regrettably not going to be possible to finish that process before the date that is legally due for the European parliamentary elections... so those will now go ahead," Cabinet Office minister Lidington told reporters.
"We will be redoubling our efforts ... to try to make sure that the delay after that is as short as possible. Ideally, we would like to be in a situation where those MEPs from the UK never actually take their seats in the European parliament, certainly to get this done and dusted by the summer recess."
Tadhg Enright, a Euronews correspondent in London, said the government has now set itself a new deadline of July 2, when MEPs are due to take their seats.
“If a deal can be ratified by then, well perhaps those newly elected British MEPs might actually not need to take their seats,” he told Euronews Now.