NIGEL Farage said the new Brexit Party, which was officially recognised by the Electoral Commission yesterday, is a “live vehicle” which could be “mobilised” if Brexit is delayed.

The former Ukip leader said the party “has my absolutely full support” and that he will stand on its ticket at the European Parliament election in May if the UK has not left the EU by then.

He said that if MPs “kick the can down the road” by extending Article 50 “then logically we would have to fight European elections and I would certainly stand in them in those circumstances”.

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Farage said the registration of the party should be a warning to MPs considering backing any effort, such as the move championed by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Tory Nick Boles, to extend Article 50 in order to allow more time for negotiations.

MPs considering such a move “need to be aware there could be a very serious electoral threat to them,” he claimed.

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The party’s founder, Catherine Blaiklock, a Ukip candidate at the 2017 General Election, told the Daily Telegraph that “a number of hundred” Conservative members had been in touch to say they wanted to defect and that the figure was likely to rise to thousands.

Farage claimed the party would attract support from both the Conservatives and Labour, with people now increasingly identifying along Leave and Remain lines. He said: “If the need comes for the Brexit Party to be mobilised, I think it will draw support from across the entire spectrum. There is a live vehicle there from which to fight back.

“There are many millions of people out there at the moment feeling disenfranchised completely, feeling that they are more Leavers, or Remainers, but feeling they are more Leavers than they are Labour or Tory supporters and this would give them a focus.”

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Theresa May was due to have dinner with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin last night, with the Irish leader repeating insistences beforehand that the backstop was not up for renegotiation.

However, he added: “But we can talk about the joint political declaration and what changes might be made to that and what assurances may be given that would assist this agreement being ratified.”

Varadkar had earlier had meetings in Belfast with the five Stormont parties. DUP leader Arlene Foster was afterwards asked to comment on a BBC report that quoted unnamed members of the UK Cabinet suggesting a vote on Irish unification would be likely in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Foster said: “There are many people engaging in project fear at this point in time and we all have to recognise that. The Belfast [Good Friday] Agreement sets out the criteria for a border poll and it hasn’t been satisfied and therefore will not be called.”