The remaining seven of the twenty four UKIP MEPs originally elected in 2014’s EU elections have joined the Marine Le Pen-led Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) grouping in the European Parliament.
Apparently, the current UKIP leader, Gerard Batten, has been named as the ENF’s Brexit spokesman.
The ENF includes the renamed French National Front (now National Rally) of Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders’ Dutch PVV, the Flemish Interest from Belgium, the Austrian Freedom Party (FPO), and the Northern League from Italy, among others, including the dissident former UKIP MEP, Janice Atkinson.
Previously, UKIP had refused to align itself with Marine Le Pen’s party (the original FN was aligned with the BNP under her father’s leadership) preferring to establish its own grouping within the EU Parliament with Nigel Farage as leader. Farage has since resigned from the party (ostensibly due to burgeoning UKIP links with ‘Tommy Robinson’ and his supporters) while others, such as the former UKIP leader, Paul Nuttall, have also left the party.
Currently, Le Pen’s party tops the polls in France, while the Northern League (known as Lega) is part of the governing coalition in Italy, as is the FPO in Austria. All of those parties are expected to maintain or grow their support in the forthcoming EU elections later this year and attract support from similar parties across Europe who also make electoral gains, thanks to the migration crisis and disillusionment with both the EU and domestic neo-liberal governing elites.
With Theresa May’s Brexit deal in trouble after a historic defeat in the British parliament, it is not inconceivable that Brexit is delayed (or even revoked) and the UK takes part in the forthcoming EU elections.
Gerard Batten has promised to contest those elections if that happens which could result in UKIP returning in even larger numbers than the twenty four originally elected back in 2014 following the 2019 betrayal of Brexit.