Stuart Agnew, MEP says “Nigel Farage wants to Remain in the EU”
The List Brexit has been given a copy of Stuart Agnew’s recent newsletter in which he explains how Nigel Farage, in Mr. Agnew’s opinion, has made the statement at a recent meeting that he wishes to Remain in the EU.
The List Brexit cannot verify those statements nor that the meeting actually took place. However, on balance, if that meeting was ‘in camera’, it was therefore confidential so that people can speak freely and frankly.
Upon reading the section, it does seem to us that Mr. Farage is saying that a longer extension would allow him more time to marshal support for his new party, but not that he is agreeing to Remain in the EU. The newsletter goes on to say that he had a choice to leave the EU within 48 hours. It is difficult to know what was meant, not having been there nor hear the tone of the conversation. However, it seems a bit immoral to publicise statements from others that were made in a confidential meeting.
Mr. Agnew says “To hear him say he wanted to remain in the EU, when there was a genuine opportunity to leave 48 hours later”. It may be that we have read this wrong and Mr. Agnew is correct in his assumption. If Mr. Agnew is correct, then we believe supporters of Mr. Farage’s new party, The Brexit Party, have a right to know.
We will ask Mr. Farage for his comments.
“The main highlight of the week was a surprise invitation to attend the ‘Conference of Presidents’ as the substitute of the ENF Group Leader Nicholas Bay. This event is held monthly and comprises the leaders of the eight Political Groups, chaired by Tajani the President of the Parliament. They usually discuss Parliamentary procedure. On Wednesday an emergency meeting was called just ahead of Theresa May’s visit to grovel for yet another extension. The President wanted to consult the leaders of the Groups, before he himself attended the European Council Meeting to sound out the views of the Parliament. If, thirty years ago, someone had said to me that on 10th April 2019 I would be personally consulted as one of the nine most senior members of the European Parliament on my view as to whether the EU should grant an extension to the UK to remain in the EU, I would have pointed to a flying pig.
Nevertheless, there we all were. Each MEP had their Group’s most senior civil servant beside them, plus all the inevitable Parliament secretarial sidekicks, sycophants and hangers-on, etc. Each MEP was asked in turn whether they thought an extension should be granted. There is a pecking order here, with the leader of the largest Group (Manfred Weber of the EPP) being consulted first and so on. None of the first six leaders objected to an extension, but some insisted that full EU rules must apply to all UK citizens, and others that any interim conditions agreed by Theresa May could not be revoked by another UK Prime Minister.
It was then Nigel Farage’s turn to speak (leader of the EFDD Group) followed by myself. Following Farage as a speaker is very much a ‘graveyard slot’ and I was wondering how I could hold anyone’s attention after one of his barnstormers. What he said, however, utterly astonished me. The meeting was ‘in camera’ which means it is not broadcast. He stated that he wanted an extension of Britain’s EU membership so that he could parade the candidates of his new Party. I have known him for 20 of the 25 years that he has been campaigning against EU membership. To hear him say he wanted to remain in the EU, when there was a genuine opportunity to leave 48 hours later, was akin to hearing Geoffrey Boycott saying he would support Lancashire against Yorkshire. It was the very last thing I expected.
It did at least give me a chance to say what he should have done, and with a fair degree of passion. The main thrust of my statement was that whilst many British MPs were frightened of self-government and a so called cliff edge, I could remember ‘Brentry’ as a voting adult in 1973 and the days when the EU did not interfere in British government. I outlined a list of examples of interferences with each passing Treaty and how increased interference made Britain more difficult to govern, not easier. I urged the President to urge Donald Tusk to expel the UK from the EU so that we could forget politics and start talking trade. My intervention was not well received.
I am now concerned that touring the country giving such eloquent, engaging, enjoyable and entertaining anti-EU speeches has become such a raison d’etre for Nigel, that the prospect of all that finishing last Friday was the equivalent of the farmer shooting the huntsman’s fox.”