JEREMY Corbyn said Nigel Farage is not “serious” about the UK’s relationship with the rest of the world, as the pair traded blows ahead of the European election battle.

The Labour leader said the former Ukip boss and his Brexit Party were “not the answer to anyone’s problem”.

But Farage, who said he expects to “sweep the board” at the May 23 elections, questioned whether Corbyn even understood his own policy on Brexit.

Corbyn, on the campaign trail in north-west England, said: “Nigel Farage is not the answer to anyone’s problem. We have to have a relationship with Europe, in or out of the EU. We have a major trading partnership with Europe and all Farage is offering is some kind of never-never-land, saying we’ll walk away from everything.

“Well, he should say that to those people whose jobs would be at risk in manufacturing industries and food processing industries. He should say that to those people who are really going to suffer as a result of this.

“We’re serious about having a trading relationship with Europe. We’re serious about our relationship with the rest of the world. I’m not sure he is.”

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Asked whether the Brexit Party was a risk to Labour and the Tories in the European elections , Corbyn said: “We will fight the elections as a party that is committed to that relationship with Europe, but above all it’s about uniting people however they voted in 2016 – they’re suffering from austerity.”

Responding to the Labour leader’s comments, Farage said Corbyn’s plan to have a customs union with the EU after Brexit would leave the UK unable to strike trade deals.

Earlier, in Strasbourg, Farage told MEPs he predicted electoral success for the party he now leads after quitting Ukip. “The Brexit Party will sweep the board in these elections,” he said.

Meanwhile, it emerged The Independent Group formed by breakaway former Labour and Tory MPs has become a fully fledged political party and will fight the European elections.

The new party, Change UK – The Independent Group, will stand on a pro-EU platform calling for a second referendum. The party claims to have had more than 3,00 applications from people wanting to stand as candidates in the poll and it has begun the process of shortlisting and interviewing potential MEPs.

Some 70 candidates will be fielded by the party after it completed the registration process with the Electoral Commission.