Labour MP warns of threat from Ukip under Nigel Farage after Brexit shift

Posted On: 
28th August 2017

A pro-Brexit Labour MP has raised the prospect of Nigel Farage returning to the political scene to urge Jeremy Corbyn not to soften the party’s stance on leaving the European Union. 

Kate Hoey and Nigel Farage sitting on a Brexit boat in the River Thames
Stefan Rousseau/PA

Kate Hoey, who worked alongside Mr Farage as part of the campaign last year, said his comeback could “revive” the fortunes of the struggling eurosceptic party.

The Labour leadership yesterday announced that it wanted the UK to remain in the single market and a customs union with the EU for the duration of the transition phase of Brexit, and left open the door to permanent single market membership.

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The move has angered the party’s small band of eurosceptic MPs, and Ms Hoey warned of “mission creep” towards a second referendum and never leaving the EU after all.

“It is very worrying to those of us that want to support the view of the British public which was overwhelmingly to vote to leave that this is moving towards a kind of mushy – I think you used the word blancmange – which is really not in the interests of this country,” the Vauxhall MP told BBC Radio 5live this morning.

Ukip has seen its electoral appeal fall since Mr Farage's departure in the aftermarth of the referendum, and is currently going through its third leadership election since then. 

But Ms Hoey said Labour could not be complacent about the threat of the eurosceptics picking up momentum.

“The most important thing about this is we did very well in the last general election by winning back some of those people who left Labour disillusioned and gone to Ukip,” she explained.

“And I do think now many of those people will be feeling ‘hang on, we voted for Labour because we thought they were serious about Brexit, that they wanted to make a success of it’.

“Now we look like we’re not going to do that and we could lose those voters back to perhaps, you never know Nigel Farage could come back and there could be a revived Ukip. Labour would have done something which was not necessary.”

Mr Farage complained about Labour's announcement on social media.