The Brexit Party has today announced the first 50 candidates that will stand for the party at the next general election, whose names include an anti-immigrant former UKIP councillor and a reverend who opposes gay marriage.
Each paying £100 for the pleasure of applying to represent the party, the candidates all hope to unseat Labour and Tory MPs (or at least hope to make Boris Johnson nervous).
In fact, some of them already have experience fighting elections for the party. Two of the candidates, Anna Louisa Bailey and Stuart Waiton, are failed Brexit Party MEPs, while several current MEPs have decided to try their luck at national politics. Martin Daubney, Rupert Lowe, Alexandra Phillips and Robert Rowland will stand for the party, and will presumably give up their seats in Brussels if they win.
Both a Conservative councillor in Chichester, Viral Parikh and the former chairman of Sevenoaks Conservative Party have defected to the party. Meanwhile, Kate Allsop, former Mayor of Mansfield, has left the Mansfield Independent Forum for pastures Brexit.
The Brexit Party has also swept up some ex-UKIP supporters. John Booker was a UKIP Councillor in Sheffield and Allen Cowles has just finished a term as a councillor in Rotherham. As we reported a few weeks ago, Cowles once said it was legitimate for people to be scared of immigrants.
Meanwhile, Reverend Sam Norton will stand for the Forest of Dean constituency. He used to vote UKIP, and wrote a blog post defending this choice while outlining his controversial views on gay marriage. He said: “This very significant change is being pushed through in such a fool-hardy fashion”. He also accused politicians of being “driven by a particularly metropolitan form of political correctness”.
Academic Kevin Yuill, professor of American history at the University of Sunderland, will also stand for the party. His academic interests include gun control and he also contributes to right wing rag, Spiked.
More candidates will be announced early next week. But, at this stage, we wouldn’t blame Labour and the Conservatives for not quaking at the prospect of a motley Brexit Party takeover.