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How could Farage do this to me and 316 other willing candidates?


ON May 1 this year, after it became apparent Parliament was not going to honour the result of the referendum, I paid my £25 and joined the Brexit Party as a supporter.

A few days later I started receiving emails from them looking for people to stand as parliamentary candidates. I carefully considered the offer and decided to stand up and fight for what I believed.

Not only did I want to get us out of the EU, I hoped to represent this new and exciting party that was going to #ChangePoliticsForGood. I had a vision of a party with a new breed of politician who puts truth and trust above career and party.

Then the whirlwind began. I was interviewed on Monday June 24. Wednesday 26 I was longlisted to stand for the Brexit Party as a prospective parliamentary candidate and Sunday 30 asked to join Nigel Farage on stage at the Big Vision Rally at the NEC in Birmingham.

There were 100 prospective parliamentary candidates at the rally and we spent the day together. It was a fantastic team from all walks of life and politics, united in the name of Brexit and changing politics for good. The bond was immediate.

This team grew as 600 PPCs of the highest calibre were recruited and allocated constituencies. After some basic training we were set free to build a team of local volunteers, start campaigning and get ready to fight a general election.

Preparations went well and over the next three months the army grew. By the time the general election was called I had built a team of 40 amazing volunteers. This had been repeated nationwide with thousands of motivated and dedicated volunteers out on the streets leafleting and campaigning.

My constituency, Epping Forest, is a safe Tory seat. Dame Eleanor Laing has been the MP for the last 22 years. For the last six years she has been Deputy Speaker, impartial and doesn’t vote in Parliament. The voice of the Epping Forest constituents has gone unheard.

She is a career politician and disconnected from the people who elected her. She was involved in the MPs’ expenses scandal. She is not readily available to constituents and surgeries are almost non-existent. Replacing MPs like her is exactly why I wanted to stand for election.

With a huge 18,000 Conservative majority in the last election, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have absolutely no chance of winning Epping Forest. There is no risk of ‘the Brexit Party splitting the vote and letting Corbyn in’.

The support we have received on the streets during the last four months has been incredible. The reward of seeing the pleasure on people’s faces finding out that the Brexit Party would have a candidate standing in Epping Forest was priceless.

In the referendum Epping Forest voted 62.7 per cent Leave and that support was evident. Many of those voters are well-informed and understand the problems with Boris Johnson’s deal. The high volume of Brexit Party pledges received bears no relation to the opinion polls. Even our small-scale ‘winter’ canvassing twice showed that 42 per cent would vote Brexit Party on December 12.

Realistically the odds of winning in a safe Tory seat are low, but the chance to give 10,000-plus disillusioned voters someone to vote for was very achievable.

Our election campaigning had just stepped up a gear. In the last five days 8,000 leaflets explaining the problem of Boris’s deal and Brexiteer newspapers were delivered. Street stands were held in Loughton and Epping. On Remembrance Sunday I had the honour of marching in uniform at two parades to lay Brexit Party wreaths in remembrance of those who had fallen.

I missed Nigel Farage’s announcement that 317 Brexit Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidates were being stood down. I was busy talking to a member of the public on a street stand with three volunteers. A van driver pulled up and asked what we were doing as he had just heard on the radio that we weren’t running.

After a quick verification online, we put the street stand away. In a matter of moments my mission to give Leavers a choice, deliver a real Brexit and #ChangePoliticsForGood had been shattered.

I don’t understand Nigel Farage’s decision to stand us down in Conservative seats with zero risk of a Remain party winning.

I don’t understand why, after exposing Boris Johnson’s deal as a surrender, the Brexit Party is now backing it.

I don’t understand why we are being told to trust a man who told us thousands of times we are leaving the EU on October 31 and now says he will take us out by the end of December 2020.

I don’t understand why Nigel Farage has betrayed my incredible volunteers and thousands of constituents who will have no one to vote for.

I don’t understand why 317 dedicated PPCs were the last to know they had been stood down and locked out of their Brexit Party email accounts and supporter database.

I don’t understand why you build a dedicated new party and then sacrifice half of it without missing a step.

I don’t understand how you can then have the audacity to ask those supporters and PPCs still to help you campaign.

I started on this road to change politics for good, but I finish by realising that while career politicians are at the top it will stay bad for ever.

The last four months have been an amazing and enjoyable experience. I have made friends with incredible people. On December 12, like many others, I will have no one to vote for.

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Darren Selkus
Darren Selkus
Darren Selkus is Reform UK prospective parliamentary candidate for Hertsmere. He is a former Army Captain.

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