WATCH: Tory MP hints that she could vote for Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party in EU elections
A Tory MP has refused to rule out voting for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party if the UK takes part in next month's European Parliament elections.
Anne-Marie Morris said she wasn’t willing to campaign for Conservative candidates because the 23 May poll was a “non-event”.
The UK will have to participate in the EU-wide elections unless a Brexit deal has been ratified by the day before.
Speaking at a meeting of the eurosceptic Bruges group, Ms Morris said some former Conservative MEPs were refusing to stand in the elections because it was “completely counter-culture” to her party’s promise to have left the EU by now.
“To be honest, I think the European elections are going to be a bit of a non-event if I can put it like that”, she said. “There is very little time to prepare for them. A number of individuals who were MEPs have said they won’t stand again because it is completely counter-culture, if you like, to everything we said about withdrawal. So no, I no I am not going to be campaigning.”
She added: “Frankly I don’t think there are going to be many people campaigning but at the end of the day there are plenty of people out there who will want to stand, and they have my very best wishes, and I am sure those who get elected will be those who support Brexit. So watch this space.”
Asked if she was considering voting for former Ukip leader Mr Farage’s new Brexit party, the Newton Abbot MP said she'd wait to see the "runner and riders" before making a decision.
“I would need to see who the candidates were, but certainly I would prefer someone on the Brexit side rather than the Remain side, and in my area they are currently on the Remain side," she said.
“So yes, I would like to vote for somebody of a Brexit orientation and I sincerely hope we will put forward somebody with that orientation."
Her comments came a day after the Conservative Party formally launched its candidate’s selection process for elections to the European parliament should the government fail to secure a deal which takes the UK out of the EU ahead of the May 23rd polling date.
Ms Morris also urged Tory party members frustrated with the Government’s handling of Brexit to remain in the party so they could oust local officials who support Mrs May’s Brexit deal, including the chairs of local Conservative branches.
“If you are member and you can get more members to join up, then over time you’ll be in a position to vote in a new chairman,” she said. “So they will be removed.”
“It’s about ensuring that locally your voice is heard by getting more of your signing up to the party. So, when I hear stories about members ripping up membership cards it’s not actually very helpful. We need you there, because if you are not there we are not going to get the right result either locally or nationally in terms of the next Prime Minister.”