Speaking at a rally in Birmingham, which saw the first 100 candidates paraded before the crowd but not named, Farage said it was impossible to trust either Johnson or Jeremy Hunt over their Brexit plans, referring to Johnson’s recent promise to “put Nigel Farage back in his box.”
“By the end of next week we will have 650 approved prospective parliamentary candidates,” Farage told the crowd of more than 5,000 activists. “There is a big message that Westminster needs to hear. We are not a protest movement. Oh, and by the way, Mr Johnson, you can try if you want to, but I will not be put back in my box by you or anybody else.”
Farage told his supporters that his party had now replaced the Conservatives in some areas, becoming the main challenger that “can beat the Labour party.” He also said that institutional bias against Brexit meant the Conservatives could not be trusted.
Farage’s new Brexit party won the biggest share of the vote in May’s European elections, gaining 29 MEPs, and has been polling at more than 20% in surveys of Westminster voting intentions. However, during the recent Peterborough byelections, his party lost to the Labour candidate.