Tory candidates abandon the Conservatives for Nigel Farage's Brexit Party - with up to FORTY MEPs plotting to defect amid fears of a 'disaster' in May's EU elections
- Former Ukip leader's new party could cause an exodus of Tory party members
- Twenty-six MPs have reportedly told Farage in private they'll vote from his party
- Even more said to be switching from Tory candidates to stand for Brexit Party
- TV star and politicians from mainstream parties said to be among the joiners
The Conservatives are facing an exodus as up to 40 EU election candidates are believed to be defecting to the Brexit Party.
And even more are said to be ditching their Tory MEP campaigns in favour of standing for the Brexit Party.
Nigel Farage (left) looks set to drain the Tories of their support, it is claimed, as rumours circulate that eurosceptic Mark Francois (right) could join the party
The news comes amid speculation surrounding Mark Francois, vice-chairman of the eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG), who openly encouraged a 'eurosceptic onslaught' in the upcoming elections when speaking to France 24.
As many as 56 per cent of people who voted to leave the EU in 2016 say they would vote for Ukip or the Brexit Party, with only 18 per cent saying they would back the Conservatives
Mr Farage told the paper: 'After the last three years, many Conservative MPs, councillors and, indeed members, are asking what is the point of their party.'
He has laid a £1,000 bet on his party taking more seats in next month's elections than any other party.
Annunziate Rees-Mogg (pictured) is among those to have already declared from the Brexit Party
Among those to announce their candidacy for the Brexit Party already are Annunziata Rees-Mogg, who is the sister of ERG chairman Jacob.
The Tories have also faced defections from MPs who believe that the UK should stay in the EU.
Anna Soubry is among three Conservatives who have quit the party to form Change UK, formerly known as The Independent Group.
Speculation about who might join the Brexit Party comes as support for the Conservatives is at a six-year low.
Only two thirds of Tory voters from the 2017 general election said they would support the party again, and a little more than one third said they would vote for the Tories in European elections, a You Gov poll for The Times claimed.
Electoral Calculus polling says Nigel Farage's newly formed Brexit Party would have the third largest share of the vote, with Labour ahead of the Tories if a general election was called today.
Ardently pro-Leave parties would constitute the country's third largest political force with 14 per cent of the vote if a general election was held today.