Bill Etheridge: Back Nigel to finish the job on Brexit
Bill Etheridge has called for a new Nigel Farage-led political movement to 'finish the job' on Brexit.
The West Midlands MEP, who quit UKIP over its anti-Islam stance under leader Gerard Batten, has urged Brexiteers from all parties to get behind a new party led by the former UKIP leader.
Mr Farage, who stepped down as UKIP's top man weeks after the EU referendum, announced this week he had resigned from the party after 25 years.
As reasons he cited the party's 'fixation' with the anti-Muslim policies of Mr Batten, and said he was dismayed by the UKIP leader’s decision to appoint the far-right campaigner and former English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson as an adviser.
Since Mr Farage's announcement rumours have been rife around Westminster that he is set to form a new party aimed at pushing for 'a proper' Brexit.
Mr Etheridge, a major supporter of Mr Farage who is now the deputy chairman of Libertarian Party UK, said: "Nigel has led the way.
"Brexiteers from all parties must unite in a new movement for true independence.
“When President Trump hailed Nigel as Mr Brexit, he wasn’t exaggerating. Nigel, more than anyone else has helped us get this far.
“Now we owe it to him to join this new movement and help him finish the job.”
Announcing his resignation, Mr Farage reflected on UKIP's support for a 'Brexit Betrayal' rally in London this weekend, which Mr Robinson and Mr Batten are due to attend.
“My heart sinks as I reflect on the idea that they may be seen by some as representative of the cause for which I have campaigned for so much of my adult life," he said.
“The very idea of Tommy Robinson being at the centre of the Brexit debate is too awful to contemplate.
“There is a huge space for a Brexit party in British politics, but it won’t be filled by UKIP.”
Mr Batten – who has described Islam as a 'death cult' – took over as UKIP leader in April and was initially backed by former Dudley councillor Mr Etheridge.
However, he has faced accusations that he has abandoned the Brexit issue to focus on a crusade against Muslims, leading to a slew of resignations from MEPs.
UKIP’s ruling NEC met at the weekend to consider MR Batten's future as leader, but a vote of no confidence in him was defeated.