WE should be part of the team now, that’s pretty clear.’ Immediately after the Brexit Party’s landslide victory in the EU elections was confirmed, Nigel Farage threw down the gauntlet to the Government and demanded a seat at the Brexit negotiating table.
If representing 5million people who voted to get Britain out of the EU and if heading the largest political group in the EU Parliament does not qualify you a place in the team, it is hard to know what does.
Andrew Rosindell MP reminded us on Monday that not including Farage in the negotiations from the start, three years ago, was a terrible mistake which lost the Tories ‘huge amounts of our core voters’. Kate Hoey agrees that he should be in the team.
But it’s a mistake the terrified Tories risk making all over again.
Will any of the leadership contenders dare buck their party’s trend, take up the the offer and embrace Nigel as well as no-deal? Have they learned from the past? That’s the question.
Not Jeremy Hunt, for one. He couldn’t execute his no-deal U-turn fast enough to distance himself from Farage, whose ‘dog whistling’ politics he says he detests. Pursuing a no-deal Brexit would be electoral suicide for the Conservatives, he warned in a speech that will have made Liberal Democrat-voting, BBC rent-a-quote, Remainer elitist Michael Heseltine proud.
But what about the others? Who else is afraid of the big bad Remainer Leftie wolf?
Would the rest rather insult and demonise the 4million people who voted for his party in the 2015 General Election and the 5million who voted for the Brexit Party last Thursday than take Nigel aboard the Good Ship Brexit?
Are they prepared to brave the sneers of a BBC determined to discredit or ignore the Brexit Party that has never, from day one, taken Nigel Farage or his core Eurosceptic message seriously, as David Keighley recounts here.
Are they mice or men (or women, obviously)?
Could BoJo deliver that Brexit shock to Brussels ‘by handing Farage a cabinet role’ and put two fingers up to Amber Rudd and Philip Hammond at the same time?
Will any of them dare sign up Mr Farage and key colleagues up to their renegotiation team?
We challenge them to say:
We will keep you posted on their respective answers.