Europe dominates election – but Brexit Party candidate has quit

Europe dominates election - but Brexit Party candidate has quit

Stephen Peddie decided not to run for Parliament in protest at Mr Farage’s opposition to the leaving the EU with a deal.

He said: “We have a Brexit only because of Farage. That doesn’t make it his to destroy along with our country.

“I’ve quit as a PPC [Prospective Parliamentary Candidate] in exasperation. I suspect I’m far from alone.”

Mr Farage had launched his 600 candidates earlier in the day insisting that the only way to achieve Brexit now was to make a ‘clean break’ from the EU without a deal.

Tonbridge & Malling voted to leave in the 2016 referendum, with 55.7 per cent in favour out of a turnout of almost 80 per cent.

With the government having failed to deliver Brexit after two deadlines expired, there are fears that the Brexit Party could steal votes off the Conservatives.

Following the last general election in 2017, the Tories were dependent on the DUP in Northern Ireland to give them a working majority but even that no longer exists.

Two years ago the Conservative candidate Tom Tugendhat was returned to the seat he first won in 2015, with 64 per cent of the vote.

Labour came second with 22 per cent, but as the paper went to press they had still not announced their candidate for the election on December 12.

In 2015 it was UKIP, campaigning to leave Europe, who were in second place with 15 per cent of the vote, though that was reduced to just 3 per cent after the referendum result was secured.

Mr Tugendhat was in favour of remaining in the EU in 2016 – his wife Anissia Morel is a supreme court judge in France.

But he voted in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by Theresa May’s government on all three ballots.

He told the Times: “Since the referendum, in Parliament I have voted to leave the EU at every opportunity, and have never once voted to extend the Article 50 deadline because we’re not short of time, we need to act.

“Brexit is not just an important national and international issue, but a local one too. Turning the M26 into a lorry park would close schools and cause traffic difficulties for many of us.

“That’s why I have always said we should leave in an orderly manner so we can deliver on the referendum result, while protecting our community too.”

The Liberal Democrats are hoping to make gains with their opposition to Brexit after three years of impasse and Tory infighting.

They say that if they achieve a majority, they will revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU, but since this is highly unlikely they are backing a second referendum.

The local LibDem candidate Richard Morris is a board member on a prominent pro-European campaign group founded in the 1950s called the European Movement.

He said: “I was appalled by the result of the referendum because of the damage it will do to the country, possible for a generation, certainly for a decade.

“The referendum was deeply misrepresented and didn’t offer realistic choices. Now there is a real choice and I very much back a second referendum.”


He is convinced that Brexit will dominate the agenda in the six weeks up to polling day, stating: “It’s hard to formulate policies without knowing which way Brexit is going. It would have been wiser to have a second referendum first.”

Another party demanding a second referendum are the Greens, who made strong gains in Tonbridge in May’s borough council elections, gaining two seats.

Their candidate, April Clark, captured one of those seats in Judd Ward. She believes that growing interest in the Greens locally could be reflected on the wider stage because of the public’s disenchantment with politicians.

Cllr Clark said: “The Greens have a distinctive position on Brexit, which has remained consistent since the referendum in 2016: when we have a final deal, it should be put back to the public.

“If supporters of Brexit are confident in the deal then they should be happy for it to be put back to the public to validate that it has everyone’s support.

“On an issue like this, which is going to impact everyone for generations, we need as much democracy as we can get – that is truly ‘taking back control’!” See pages 6/7/8.


Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter