Farage's masterplan? Why Referendum Party ‘proves Brexiteer doesn’t need to ...

Mr Farage led the Leave.EU campaign during the referendum, and has been one of the most vocal Brexit figures. He even set up the Brexit Party to “make sure that the UK leaves the EU” and “to change British politics for good” in April this year. Last week, he suggested to Boris Johnson that the Conservatives and the Brexit Party establish a Leave alliance. Mr Farage wanted Conservative candidates to stand down in 150 constituencies and make way for his party, so they would not split the Leave vote. As part of the alliance, he also asked Mr Johnson to drop his revised withdrawal deal he established with the EU last month. 

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Mr Johnson flat-out rejected this proposal, and Mr Farage has since announced he will not be standing as an MP. He has tried on seven different occasions to win a parliamentary seat.

However, today, he unveiled 600 other new Brexit Party candidates to stand in the general election.

Mr Farage appears to be copying key elements of another political party – the Referendum Party, which was established in 1994 and dissolved in 1997. It was a single-issue group which aimed only to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership in the EU.

As political expert and commentator Nick Robinson tweeted on November 1: “What @Nigel_Farage is trying to do is change/pressure/bully (*delete where applicable) the @Conservatives from without just as Goldsmith’s Referendum Party did in 90s. The Tories face a choice now – do a deal or use this as a chance to present @BorisJohnson as mainstream.”

Nigel Farage and Sir James Goldsmith both founded single-issue partiesNigel Farage and Sir James Goldsmith both founded single-issue Eurosceptic parties (Image: Getty)

Mr Farage announced he will not be standing the 2019 ElectionMr Farage announced he will not be standing the 2019 Election (Image: Getty)

In the 2018 BBC Radio 4 series, ‘Brexit: A Love Story?’ Mark Mardell looked at the impact the Referendum Party had upon the 1997 election, the party which “only fought one election and failed to win a single seat”.

Set up by Sir James Goldsmith, an Anglo-French millionaire, the Eurosceptic party pushed for publicity so that it would panic the two main parties until they called for a referendum. Sir James proceeded to spend three times as much as the Tories on ads in the press.

He led a persistent campaign with constant door-knocking and rallies, and a candidate for almost every constituency in the UK, subsequently posing a severe threat to the Conservative seats – a move echoed in Mr Farage’s electoral strategy.

READ MORE: How Farage claimed young Margaret Thatcher would have BACKED him

Sir James founded the Referendum Party in 1994Sir James founded the Referendum Party in 1994 (Image: Getty)

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