Former Brexit Party candidate says Farage ‘let us down’

A former Brexit Party candidate is defying Nigel Farage's decision to step aside in Tory-held seats at the General Election to stand as an independent Brexiteer.

Neil Greaves, from the Harlow constituency in Essex, said the Brexit Party leader has been "outmanoeuvred" and encouraged his fellow candidates to follow his example.

Mr Greaves said he has taken a step back from his work as a propriety trader to focus on campaigning and believes he has "a really good chance" of victory in Harlow.

"Nigel has let Brexiteers down ... he should be standing up for the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit," the 52-year-old told the PA news agency.

"I don't regard Boris Johnson's deal as Brexit. It's not even close.

"Farage has been totally outmanoeuvred and out-negotiated without Boris (Johnson) even having to say anything.

"He says Boris is going to come out on December 20 – really? You believe him?"

The constituency voted 68% to leave in the EU referendum while Conservative Robert Halfon, who won the seat by more than 7,000 votes in 2017, opted for Remain.

Neil Greaves campaigning in Harlow
Neil Greaves campaigning in Harlow

Mr Greaves described Mr Halfon as a "Remainer" and pulling out of the race would mean there "won't be a Leave option for Harlow".

"To do a blanket 'oh we're not going to stand in Tory seats' is silly, it's more nuanced than that," Mr Greaves said.

"There's a big centre ground open and I thought we would take that but (Farage) has played a particularly bad hand since Boris became Tory leader – he allied himself too much to the Tories.

"If I don't win I will go back to the day job but I've given it my full attention."

Fellow Brexit Party candidate Ruth Jolley said she "respected" Mr Farage's decision but was "disappointed" the people of her South West Norfolk constituency will not be able to vote for a Brexit Party candidate.

"For me the Brexit Party was about more than Brexit," she told PA.

"It was a chance to change politics for good and shake up our institutions."

The former civil servant, who now runs a pet care business, said she will continue to campaign for Brexit Party candidates elsewhere but will not vote in the election.

"I couldn't vote for those who are standing in my constituency in all good conscience," she said.

"I couldn't vote for (local Conservative candidate and cabinet minister) Liz Truss because I do think the Tories have negotiated a terrible deal."