Brexit

Rachel Johnson and Gavin Esler unveiled as European election candidates for Change UK

 Former BBC journalist Gavin Esler and Rachel Johnston are standing for Change UK in the European election. Picture by Rod Minchin, PA Wire

JOURNALISTS Rachel Johnston and Gavin Esler are to stand as a European election candidates for Change UK, the pro-remain party set up by The Independent Group.

Ms Johnson, whose brother Boris is former British foreign secretary and a prominent Brexiteer, will stand in the South West region.

She appeared at an event to launch the party's election campaign in Bristol, joined on stage by the party's MPs and other candidates including former BBC Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler.

She said: "I'm sure that Boris understands why this is not a vote against Boris. This is a vote for change. We need to move the dial. People need to have a say."

Heidi Allen, interim leader, said 3,700 people had offered to stand for Change UK - The Independent Group in the European elections.

She described the candidates as from "every corner of the UK" and from "all walks of life".

"We are here to say we stand ready," she said.

"These elections are a chance to send the clearest possible message - we demand a People's Vote and the right to campaign to remain in the European Union.

"We are not afraid to say it as clearly as that."

She added: "This is no rebel alliance - this is the home of the remain alliance."

Former BBC journalist Gavin Esler, standing for Change UK in London, addressing supporters during the launch of the Change UK European election campaign in Bristol. Picture by Rod Minchin/PA Wire/PA Wire

Mr Esler, who began his career working as a junior reporter with the Belfast Telegraph aged 23 in 1976, before joining the BBC a year later as Northern Ireland reporter, has more than 40 years' experience in television and radio journalism.

He will stand in London.

Mr Esler slammed Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset, as "pretend men of the people".

The candidate, who has not previously been a member of a political party, described them as the "posers of Brexit" who were "selling the same old snake oil".

"They claim to speak for the people - they do not," Mr Esler said.

"They stole our patriotism and I want it back."

Mr Esler said he was "seriously worried" about the future of Britain

"Our political system is a joke. It is a worldwide joke," he told the event.

"They are laughing at us - not with us, at us. It is broken.

"This country cannot possibly be strong abroad when it is weak at home.

"We all know any version of Brexit will make us poorer as a country."

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