UKIP leader Gerard Batten has said his position as leader will be “untenable” if he loses his seat in the European elections.

After coming first in 2014, many opinion surveys have the party near the bottom ahead of polling day on Thursday.

Former leader Nigel Farage’s newly-formed Brexit Party is expected to finish first.



Gerard Batten



April: Batten’s heated interview with Sky

Despite this, Mr Batten maintains he still has strong support within the party.

“If I lost my seat in London it would be untenable for me to continue as leader,” he told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday.

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“But I won’t make a decision about what I am going to do until after the European elections because I am getting a lot of people in the party overwhelmingly saying to me, whatever the result is, they want me to continue.

“I will base my decision on the outcome of the European elections and how I feel afterwards.”

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Asked about poor polling for UKIP, Mr Batten said he doesn’t “actually believe the polls” and added that the Brexit Party was being “bigged up”.

In his view, Mr Farage’s new venture “doesn’t represent a real domestic threat after the European elections”.

“I think the poll I am really going to take notice of is the one on Thursday,” Mr Batten said.

“As I’m going round the country – and we’ve gone round in our campaign bus for the last couple of weeks talking to people – we are still picking up enormous support as we go out and talk to ordinary people.”

Mr Batten said that when he took over in April 2018, the party was “about to implode and disappear”, but “since then we’ve built the party up”.

Tommy Robinson has had one of his key forms of communication with his supporters restricted
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Mr Batten defended his support for Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, known as Tommy Robinson

He said membership of the party has almost doubled from 17,000 to 30,000 and UKIP has gone from “financially bust” to “comfortably off”.

Mr Batten was also quizzed about his support for Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson.

He defended his decision to appoint the former English Defence League leader, who is now standing as an independent in the European elections, as an adviser.

“I brought Tommy Robinson in as an adviser … because I felt that was the right thing to do,” Mr Batten said.

“Only time will tell whether that decision was the right one or not.”