A major Conservative donor has defected to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, donating £200,000 to the upstart outfit just as it has surged into first place in the polls.
The City financier Jeremy Hosking, who is reportedly worth more than £330m, has confirmed he had switched allegiance to the new party, which has soared to 29 per cent in a Financial Times analysis of various polls ahead of the European elections.
A new Opinium poll released on Saturday for The Observer put the Brexit Party at 34 per cent.
Mr Hosking has previously given substantial sums to the Conservative Party, including £350,000 to several Tory candidates in the 2017 election and £1.7m to Vote Leave during the 2016 referendum.
But now he has deserted the governing party and switched his loyalty and chequebook to the newly founded Brexit Party, led by Mr Farage.
The businessman told The Daily Telegraph he knew of three or four other Tory donors who were also planning to give similar size sums to the Brexit Party.
“I have given £200,000, and urge all who wish to see a proper Conservative Party in Britain to support the BP as much as they can,” he told the newspaper.
“If the Conservatives insist on diluting Brexit, what hope is there on other issues where a robust Conservative position needs to be advocated?”
Mr Hosking also made a mock apology to the “politically correct Brexit reversal conspiracy” for being a British citizen and taxpayer, rather than a Russian oligarch.
“I look at Nigel Farage and I see a political leader who is the only person in a leadership position who has been telling us the truth for 25 years,” he said.
Theresa May has seen her party’s fortunes plummet ever since she failed to pass her Brexit deal by the original deadline in March.
In April Mr Farage launched his new party and has now seen its support climb higher and higher, mostly at the expense of the Tories and his former party, Ukip.
The latest polls for the European elections, which take place on 23 May, have the Brexit Party on 29 per cent, garnering more than double the support of the Conservative Party, which is on 14 per cent.
If the polls are accurate, the Tories are set to receive the lowest ever share of the vote at a national election for a governing party in British history.
Mr Hosking said Conservative voters were angry at the government and felt they had been duped by Mrs May over Brexit.
“One of the reasons the anger is much bigger than the Conservative Party anticipates is this fact that everyone has been taken for fools ... They can’t get out of this one.
“The David Cameron video of him promising to do exactly what we voted and Theresa May’s ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ are both shameless lies.”
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