Ann Widdecombe: Former Tory MP to stand for Brexit Party
Former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe has announced she is set to return to politics – for the Brexit Party.
Ms Widdecombe, 71, said she would still vote Conservative in the upcoming local elections but would stand as a candidate for Nigel Farage's new party in the European elections.
She said she wanted to "fire a very loud warning shot across the bows" of the established parties.
The former shadow home secretary has been retired since 2010.
Writing in the Daily Express, Ms Widdecombe said the "last thing" she wanted was "a full-on return to the political fray" but she felt it necessary to re-affirm "the supremacy of the will of the people".
She added: "What the Remain campaign failed to achieve by fear must not be achieved by fatigue."
- Calls for progress in Brexit deal talks
- Tories mull rule change to challenge May
- The life of MEPs in Brexit limbo
Speaking at party's launch, Mr Farage said: "This party is not here just to fight the European elections… this party is not just to express our anger – 23 May is the first step of the Brexit Party."
The UK has been given an extension to the Brexit process until 31 October, meaning participation in the European elections on 23 May looks likely.
In addition to Mr Farage's new venture, Change UK – formerly The Independent Group – launched its European election campaign in Bristol on Tuesday.
Interim leader Heidi Allen said Change UK was "the home of the Remain alliance".
Meanwhile, cross-party talks between the government and Labour, aimed at forging a common way forward on Brexit, are continuing amid recriminations at the slow pace of progress.
Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman said that while the discussions with Labour were "serious" they were proving "difficult" in some areas, and that progress was needed "urgently" to enable Britain to leave the EU as soon as possible.
Labour, however, put the blame for lack of progress on the government's refusal to shift on its "red lines".