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Farage predicts UK political earthquake if Brexit is slowed

Ukip leader planning Washington visit to meet Trump’s inner circle

Image Credit: Reuters
Nigel Farage, the interim leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) holds a platter of chocolates during a party in London, Britain, November 23, 2016. REUTERS/Guy Faulconbridge
Gulf News

London: UK Independence Party acting leader Nigel Farage has predicted a political earthquake in Britain if the government of Prime Minister Theresa May fails to leave the European Union before the 2020 general election.

The pro-Brexit leader who is closely allied with Donald Trump said late on Wednesday there will be a “seismic shock” if Brexit is delayed.

Farage taunted Prime Minister Theresa May with a mock ambassador’s reception complete with chocolate and champagne.

May’s government dismissed Trump’s suggestion this week of “Ambassador Farage” saying there was no vacancy as Kim Darroch is currently serving as ambassador to Washington.

But at a party at London’s Ritz hotel, Farage was cheered by his financial backers before offering guests pyramids of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, a joking reference to a long-running British ‘ambassador’s reception’ TV advert which cast the gold-foiled confection as the delicacy of choice for diplomats.

Farage praised what he called “the political revolution” that had brought Brexit and then the election of Trump, who Farage supported at a political rally before his victory.

“For those that are here who aren’t particularly happy with what’s happened in 2016, I’ve got some really bad news for you: It’s going to get a bloody sight worse next year,” Farage told guests from a staircase at the Ritz to laughs and cheers.

“I suspect there is another big seismic shock in British politics, perhaps going to come at the next election,” Farage said after complaining that Britain was still ruled by “the career professional political class.” When asked by ITV television about Farage’s ambassadorial ambitions, finance minister Philip Hammond said if he ever needed advice from Farage, he had his telephone number.

“Tell him not to hold his breath,” he added.

Farage is planning to visit Washington DC early next month to hold talks with aides to Trump.

The visit to the US capital will be seen as part of an unofficial diplomatic offensive by Farage to forge links with Trump’s team and will undermine May, who is yet to meet the new US leader.

Sources close to Farage said he will be meeting with the team around Trump.

Farage is due to travel with the same group that met Trump 10 days ago, including Arron Banks, the millionaire supporter of Ukip, and Andy Wigmore, who advises Banks.

Farage will meet with “the transition team”, which is preparing for Trump’s move to the White House in January.

One friend said: “They are in constant contact.”

Farage’s friends played down claims that he is set to receive a peerage or knighthood in the New Year’s honours list. One Conservative MP pointed out that Ed Llewellyn, David Cameron’s former chief of staff who became British ambassador to France last month, was given a peerage in the former Prime Minister’s resignation honours list.

The Tory MP said: “If you get a peerage and [become] ambassador to France for abject failure surely Nigel deserves more.”

If Farage is to receive an honour, he will already have been informed.

The friend said: “He has not been approached at all. I don’t think he would take a peerage to be honest.”

Farage, who stands down as Ukip leader on Monday, was due to attend a party last night. The organisers said the reception was “to thank Nigel Farage for leading us to victory in the referendum and for his 25 years of dedicated service towards the Brexit cause”.