The Brexit Party is finished and Nigel Farage must accept “the political reality has changed”, its founder has said.
Catherine Blaiklock, talking to LBC’s Tom Swarbrick, said she accepted a no-deal Brexit - which the party has supported and dubbed a “clean break” - is not going to happen.
The founder, who set up the party late last year, said Nigel Farage’s election strategy is wrong and the party should have focused on much fewer seats.
Her comments come in the wake of three of the Brexit Party’s MEPs quitting yesterday and urging voters to back the Conservatives amid fears they could split the Leave vote and lose to Remain parties who could cancel Brexit.
Asked if the party is finished, Ms Blaicklock said: “Yes, but I think it’s going to open another hole in the political market unless Boris delivers on some of the things that caused Brexit in the first place.”
She said these issues include crime, terrorism, immigration and a sense of communities getting destroyed.
Ms Blaiklock added that Mr Farage should have listened to his long-term supporter Arron Banks, who she said recommended targeting 20 - 30 seats.
She accused Mr Farage of tagetting marginals which opens the door to the Leave vote splitting between the Tories and Brexit Party and risks opening the door to pro-Remain MPs winning.
Mr Farage did stand down candidates in Tory-held seats but insisted he still wanted to fight Labour in other constituencies.
Yesterday, three Brexit Party MEPs quit to back the Conservatives.
Annunziata Rees-Mogg, Lance Forman and Lucy Harris resigned the whip and urged voters to back Boris Johnson after outlining fears of splitting the Brexit backing vote.
Ms Rees-Mogg said: “We need a strong Leave-supporting government to deliver the Brexit 17.4 million voted for.
“The Conservatives are the only option for Brexit supporters and democrats alike.”
They were joined by John Longworth, another MEP, who was sacked from the party for “undermining” Mr Farage’s strategy.
Mr Farage hit out at the four in his interview with Andrew Neil yesterday, with the journalist saying he was “smearing” them as he discussed their links to the Conservative government.
"One is the sister of a cabinet minister, another has a boyfriend working for that cabinet minister, and another is a personal friend of Boris Johnson"
Nigel Farage hits out at four Brexit Party MEPs now urging voters to back the Tories
[tap to expand] https://t.co/wqsi7wGKv2 pic.twitter.com/W9Khxnfwhy
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) December 5, 2019
Today, he missed a Brexit Party rally where its candidates talked about defence policy, having been billed to speak.
A spokesman for the party said he would have been a distraction if Mr Farage had gone.
“This was an event about defence but if Nigel was here every question would have been about the defections,” the spokesman said.
“No-one can accuse him of running scared with what he faced yesterday, doing interviews with Andrew Neil, Jeremy Vine, Iain Dale and ITV’s Emma Murphy.”
Instead, ex-Tory minister Ann Widdecombe held a speech, urging Britain to strengthen ties with NATO.