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Nigel Farage speech: ‘The Eurosceptic genie is out of the bottle,’ Ukip leader tells supporters

Mr Farage pledged to ‘get our country back’ as polls suggested a very close victory for Remain

Tom Peck
Thursday 23 June 2016 23:58 BST
Farage - The Eurosceptic genie is out of the bottle

“The Eurosceptic genie is out of the bottle.”

They were the words of Nigel Farage, as he challenged the legitimacy of the EU referendum, hours before the result formally arrives that is expected to confirm a very close victory for Remain.

But the immigration question that has been so inflamed in the last few weeks, “is not going away.”

“We will win this war,” he said. “We will get our country back, we will get our independence back and we will get our borders back.”

Follow the latest updates on the EU referendum

David Cameron called this referendum in the hope it would settle once and for all the Europe question that had divided his party for so long.

Whatever happens, it is very clear now that it will do the opposite. This referendum has come to be defined by immigration. It is an issue Nigel Farage and whatever will remain of Ukip - a party that had no other purpose than to secure this referendum - will not let go.

“I don’t know what will happen, he said, “but it could be that the reopening of the registration deadline, and the extra two million voters, will be what cost us. I hope I’m wrong, I hope I’m made a fool of.”

Three weeks ago, when the voting registration deadline closed, the Electoral Commission’s computers crashed an hour before the midnight deadline. The deadline was reopened for a further 48 hours. It is hard to measure with exactness, but it is thought more than a million, probably pro-Remain voters registered.

Mr Farage is of the view that that is what has tipped the balance. “I invite the Prime Minister to come with me to Bolton,” he said. “To speak to the people who say, ‘Look what he has done to our lives, to the lives of our children.”

He was speaking at Leave.EU’s party at the top of the Millbank Tower near Westminster.

The numbers had looked bad for Leave, but at 10pm Arron Banks, the multimillionaire bankroller of the unofficial LEave campaign, Leave.EU, received the results of his own private polling, that put Leave ahead.

Turnout is an estimated 84 per cent, the highest in seventy years. It has been said that when turnout goes above 82 per cent, it swings back in Remain’s favour. But the only truth that can be relied upon in this whole referendum is that no one knows.

In a very strange thirty minutes before and after eleven pm, Mr Farage had conceded that Remain had ‘probably done it’, then said it was very close, before finally arriving at Westminster and all but conceding.

First thing Thursday morning, at his polling station in Biggin Hill in Kent, Mr Farage had said the result would hinge on ‘soft remainers.’ Could they be arsed to save their nation in its hour of gravest need? In this weather? The anecdotal evidence, not least a desperate press release from the Leave camp showing Londoners in a ‘leafy London suburb’ queuing round the block, and calling on their so-called heartlands to come to the rescue.

This was the missive that has prompted many to suggest this referendum has either created or revealed a divide in the nation, and a class based one too, though how whole swathes of Remain backing half-impoverished Scotland cut across that is one for the sociologists.

How can ‘Remainiacs’ so loathe their opponents for ‘hating Johnny Foreigner’ when they hate half their own with the same passionate intensity, so the argument goes. Well it appears to go both ways.

In the last few weeks, the Leave side has narrowed to little more than an anti-immigration protest group. But even the Leave side have failed to say that net migration will go down, only that they will “take back control.”

Whatever the result, there will still be immigration, there will still be anger, and wherever those two things meet, there you will find Nigel Farage.

Breaking point for Ukip? No chance.

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