Exclusive: Nigel Farage speaks out as Leave.EU's Arron Banks drops judicial review

Leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage.
Leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage.

Plans which could have derailed the June 23 EU referendum date have been dropped by Brexit campaigner Arron Banks.

Nigel Farage met with Mr Banks from the Leave.EU campaign in Central London this lunchtime, after which an agreement was met for him to call off plans to apply for a judicial review.

The legal challenge would have disputed the Electoral Commission's decision not to chose Mr Banks' group Grassroots Out as the official leave campaign side, and if accepted could have pushed the EU referendum back until October.

Millionaire Mr Banks, Chairman of Leave.EU, said: “I have spent a lot of time and so much money, alongside many others, over the past few months and years making sure this referendum happened, and more than anything we wanted to make sure it happened fairly. We have raised well over £9 million and reached millions of people around this country.

“What is clear now is that if we were to pursue a judicial review, according to legal experts, we would win. But this is a time to take a step back from the matter, and after consulting with leading campaigners on this issue, including UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage – we have decided to show the public how this process was stitched up, but not to pursue the judicial review any further.

“It is time to turn our collective guns on the real opponents in this campaign: those who are repeatedly trying to scare the British public into thinking that Britain is too small and insignificant to be an independent nation engaged with the whole world, not just one corner of it. We will be pursuing this campaign with vigour – and we’ll have some fun with it along the way”.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post this morning, UKIP leader Mr Farage admitted that Vote Leave were "now in the right place" and would "do a good job" and he will share a stage with Cabinet Minister Chris Grayling on Monday night at a campaign rally in Stoke.

Reflecting on the designation battle, he said: "What we did in Grassroots Out was to put together the most extraordinary coalition that's probably ever been seen in British politics. The thought that I would be sharing a platform with George Galloway or indeed that the last group that signed up to Grassroots Out was the new communist party of Great Britain. These are not things I had foreseen as leader of UKIP.

"Our achievement was bringing together 18 different groups right across the political spectrum under one umbrella. And I don't regret doing it for a minute. The reason we set up Grassroots Out was we were very worried that initially Vote Leave said they would not have a campaign on the immigration issue, the border issue, and that worried us.

"Actually what's happened us as this that campaign has gone in is that the Vote Leave messages have changed. I would say Vote Leave are now in the right place. They've got the designation, fine. They will do a good job. I am certain of that.

"But all those other groups that made up Grassroots Out aren't going to wither and disappear, they will all be campaigning and the biggest of them is UKIP. Everyone is focused on this battle for designation and what the media haven't noticed is that UKIP in its own right is a registered campaign organisation with a budget. We can spend £4m on the campaign. We can spend 60% of what the official leave campaign can spend.

"I have tried from the start of this to bring everyone together. I have tried like crazy. I regret that prior to designation Vote Leave chose not to work with me.

"But since designation I can tell you I had a very friendly conversation with Chris Grayling this morning and he and I will appear on the same platform in Stoke on Trent on Monday night. We will all be working together for Britain."