Rachel Johnson, sister of controversial former Foreign Secretary and leading Brexiteer Boris, has announced she's standing as a European parliament candidate for pro-Remain Change UK, in the process slamming her brother.
"A vote to leave the EU is so important, so life-changing for the next two generations, I'm impelled to stand up and be counted for what I believe in, which is that we are far better in Europe. These are chances that the politicians who decided to campaign to Leave have enjoyed themselves. It's simply not fair — and sometimes one has to stand up and be counted. It's now that time for me. I'm honoured [Change UK] have picked me to stand in the South West, which is where I call home. I went to school there, my father was born in Penzance and we have family dating back to the 1600s in my local village," she told the Evening Standard.
— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) April 23, 2019
Johnson also revealed she called her brother to inform him she was running, but refused to discuss how he reacted. While previously a Liberal Democrat supporter, Rachel's previously campaigned in elections for her siblings Boris and Jo, both Conservative MPs, and her father Stanley, a former Conversative MEP.
— Lee Ham #FBPE (@lee_ham) April 23, 2019
She made her shock announcement a Change UK event in Bristol hosted by former BBC Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler, who's running for the party in London. The state broadcaster journeyman took the opportunity to slam Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg as "pretend men of the people" and the "posers of Brexit", who were "selling the same old snake oil".
"They claim to speak for the people — they do not, They stole our patriotism and I want it back. I have never been a member of a political party but I am now. I have never been a candidate in an election but I am now. I have never been seriously worried about the future of our country but I am now. Our political system is a joke. It is a worldwide joke. They are laughing at us — not with us, at us," he said.
— Alex Wickham (@alexwickham) April 23, 2019
An alleged 3,700 people contacted Change UK offering to run as candidates in the June European elections. Confirmed candidates include former Conservative health secretary Stephen Dorrell, former Conservative MP Neil Carmichael, former Labour MEP Carole Tongue and Karen Newman, former Labour Wimbledon MP Roger Casale and human rights barrister Jessica Simor QC, one of the lawyers who secured the parliamentary vote on Article 50.
The party's interim leader Heidi Allen said Change UK was "no rebel alliance", but "the home of the remain alliance".