Appearing on British television this morning, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage issued a stark warning to Theresa May, Great Britain’s new (Tory) prime minister. Although kindly giving her the benefit of the doubt for the time being, he made clear that he expects her to trigger Article 50 before the end of January 2017. If she does not, he implied, he’ll take action.
May has, since becoming the Tory leader and prime minister, made clear she intends to follow through on the referendum results in which British voters opted to leave the European Union (called a Brexit). So far so good, Farage said today. But he noted:
Everything she [PM May) said about immigration numbers sounded terrific, and wasn’t delivered. At the moment, I’m prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt, but what she needs to do is trigger what’s known as Article 50. It’s the mechanism by which we say: ‘Right, the clock is ticking, we’ve got up to two years to sort this whole thing out.’
When asked when he would like to see it triggered, Farage answered:
Well, I think it’s fine for the ministers to get their team in place and that makes sense. You know, don’t go into battle until the army is ready. But I would not want to see this delayed past January.
Always the gentleman, Farage put it very mildly, but May and other Tories will see this for what it is: a threat. Farage resigned as UKIP leader on July 4 of this year, but it’s clear that he’ll once again take the lead if May doesn’t follow through on her Brexit promises.
And that’s exceptionally good news for those who support a Brexit specifically, and the dismantling of the European Union in general. Without Farage and his UKIP party, Brits would never have had the opportunity to vote on this matter. What’s more, if they now remain silent, chances are that the government would try to wait it out and hope for Britain’s Euroscepticism to fade away.
It’s mighty important for there to be someone with the knowledge, passion and power to put pressure on May and her cohorts. Farage is probably the only man who can do so — and he knows it.
Of course, as a fan of Farage I’d almost hope May disappoints so Farage will be forced to make a comeback. As journalist Rod Liddle wrote for the Spectator:
[Farage was] the most important British politician of the last decade and the most successful. His resignation leaves a hole in our political system. With enormous intelligence and chutzpah and a refreshingly unorthodox approach, he built UKIP up from nothing to become established as our third largest party and succeeded in his overriding ambition – to see the UK vote to leave the European Union.
In either case, Farage will continue to play an important role in British politics for months and possibly years to come. And that’s extremely good news.