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Four Brexit Party MEPs resign to back Johnson a week before election

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FILE PHOTO: Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage gestures as he speaks during a visit to Buckley, Britain December 2, 2019.
FILE PHOTO: Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage gestures as he speaks during a visit to Buckley, Britain December 2, 2019.   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Phil Noble
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Four Brexit Party MEPs are set to resign in a move to support Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, just a week before a snap election in the UK.

In a statement released on Thursday, party leader Nigel Farage expressed his disappointment and denied Brexit Party candidates were helping Labour to win.

"Whilst we are disappointed that four of our MEPs don’t seem to understand that we both saved the Conservative party from large scale losses to the Liberal Democrats in the South and South West of England but we are also hammering the Labour Leave vote in its traditional heartlands making it much easier for the Conservatives to win many of those seats," Farage said.

Annunziata Rees-Mogg, one of the MEPs who is quitting the party, said in a statement:

“We need a strong Leave-supporting government to deliver the Brexit 17.4m voted for. The Conservatives are the only option for Brexit supporters and democrats alike.”

A Brexit party spokesman downplayed the resignations, linking them to the MEP's personal connections with Cabinet members.

"We also note that one of the MEPs is the sister of a Cabinet Minister, another has a partner who works in the office of the same Cabinet Minister and yet another is a personal friend of both Boris Johnson and Michael Gove," the spokesman said.

The spokesman also bashed one of the quitting MEPs for shifting positions.

"In the case of John Longworth, who was for years the firmest advocate of WTO withdrawal that we have ever met, he underwent a metamorphosis into being a supporter of the new EU treaty following two days of meetings in London. We hope that Mr Longworth is well rewarded for his actions."

The Brexit Party was set up in early 2019 by Nigel Farage, whose years of relentless campaigning against membership of the European Union played a major part in delivering the 2016 referendum, in which Britons voted to leave the bloc.

It performed strongly in the last European elections, held in May, but has fallen sharply in opinion polls after deciding not to contest seats held by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives, to avoid splitting the pro-Brexit vote.