The former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has hinted he may form a new political party to fight the European elections this year if Brexit is delayed.
Farage, who quit UKIP last year after it appointed former EDL leader Tommy Robinson as an adviser, said the Government lacked the will to exit on World Trade Organisation terms.
The WTO option would kick in if the UK cannot agree a withdrawal deal with the EU and is the one most favoured by hard Brexiteers.
Elections for the European Parliament are taking place in all 27 EU countries from May 23-26 this year – after the UK is due to have left the EU.
Even if the March 29 departure date is delayed, EU officials told the Financial Times that the UK may not have to hold Euro elections.
The European Parliament is busy cutting most of the UK’s seats and sharing a number of them around other EU countries.
But Farage said he was hoping to find ‘the right political vehicle’ to campaign in the elections if the UK decides to take part in the event of a delay to Brexit.
The European Commission said no request had been made by the UK to extend Article 50, the two-year process which takes Britain out of the EU in March.
Prime Minister Theresa May insists the UK will leave on the appointed date, but after her Brexit deal was voted down by MPs last week the odds of that being delayed are growing.
Farage said if Brexit is delayed two possible outcomes were that the UK would have to contest May’s European elections and there could be second referendum on leaving the EU.
He added that the Leave Means Leave group, which he vice-chairs, was gathering political support and talking to business leaders to build support for another referendum battle.
“We are getting ready, we are building branches and structure all over the country. I hope we never ever have to effectively use the vehicle but we are building it,” he said.
“I know that the Remain side are well-funded, well-organised – they have been campaigning for two years for this second referendum.
“I think it would be negligent of those of us on the Leave side not to prepare, not to get ready, in case this happens.
“I’m finding the right political vehicle to fight those European elections, if they happen. I will make sure that there is a political party there with a list that I can be part of.”