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Millionaire Brexit donor plans to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds targeting 140 pro-Remain Labour MPs to ensure ‘no backsliding on Europe’

  • Jeremy Hosking hoping to replace pro-remain MPs with Brexit supporting Tories
  • He is offering up to £5,000 to Tory candidates in 138 mainly Labour-held seats
  • Candidates will be able to apply for funds through his Brexit Express campaign 
City asset manager Jeremy Hosking, who is also co-owner of Crystal Palace FC, said he wanted to ensure Theresa May was backed by an 'army' of pro-Brexit MPs

City asset manager Jeremy Hosking, who is also co-owner of Crystal Palace FC, said he wanted to ensure Theresa May was backed by an ‘army’ of pro-Brexit MPs

A multimillionaire donor who helped bankroll the Brexit victory is promising to fund a new campaign to oust 138 pro-Remain MPs.

He is offering up to £5,000 to Conservative candidates in 138 mainly Labour-held seats where most voters backed Brexit but the MP voted Remain.

He said: ‘We need all the Brexiteers on the same side. We can’t do this Brexit thing with half the Brexiteers outside the tent.’

Mr Hosking said he believed a new intake of Tory MPs from traditional Labour areas would help deliver a ‘full, national Brexit’, rather than a ‘City of London Brexit’.

He told the Observer: ‘I think it is going to be a lot of hard work so we need the best team there, and we need all the Brexiteers there – particularly the Brexiteers in the Labour heartlands. I think that will do a lot for Brexit.’

The Cambridge University educated businessman, who gave the Tories a £100,000 donation before the last election, ran the Brexit Express poster campaign before the EU referendum.

He also gave around £1.5million to the official Vote Leave campaign.

His funding campaign is not being run by Conservative HQ. Instead, candidates will be able to apply for funds through his Brexit Express campaign.

He is offering up to £5,000 per candidate so could be left with a total bill of around £700,000.

Brexit campaigners in target seats include Nick Varley, the Tory candidate for Tynemouth, Eddie Hughes in Walsall North and Paul White, the north-west director of Vote Leave, who is running in Burnley.

Speaking to MailOnline he said: ‘There have been three bits to it. First, we had the Leave vote without any discussion of what it meant, then there was talk of hard or soft Brexit as Leave didn’t expect to win.

‘Then we know that the establishment figures, starting with Tony Blair down, have been in denial at the result….they appear to have some sort of bad loser syndrome. The third thing we know is that the external forces want to make this as difficult as possible, so we felt the need to bring the Brexit Express back and give it another crack.’

He added: ‘There are 138 constituencies that have a pro Remain MP but the majority of their voters wanted Brexit.

‘The Tories don’t have them as winnable but we think they are winnable because I think for many (Brexit) is the main issue of the day.

‘We are suggesting the voters in those place should suspend their normal party loyalties. They may deliver a great majority to Labour but unless we do what we are trying to do we will never know.

‘We think the more the Labour heartlands back Brexit then it will put the Prime Minister in a strong position.’

He added: ‘The Labour position on this is out of step, ambiguous and now rather dangerous. They are saying there must be a trade deal but that completely snookers the bargaining position of the government.’

The Cambridge University educated businessman, who gave the Tories a £100,000 donation before the last election, ran the Brexit Express poster campaign before the EU referendum

Writing on his Brexit Express website, Mr Hosking said: ‘At this critical time for Britain, when our constitutional arrangements should be re-affirmed for decades into the future, Brexit Express believes these constituencies should consider a Conservative MP to help ensure there is No Backsliding over Brexit.

‘For those who remember that Brexit Express was established on party neutral grounds and aimed entirely at helping secure our departure from the EU, this overt backing of Conservative candidates may come as a surprise and, understandably, this may demand nose-holding from some of you.

‘What I ask you to remember as you do so is this; Brexit has been labelled a divisive issue. It is my belief that it can be a unifying one. That, at least for the moment, a bigger prize is at stake, one that only Theresa May is likely to be able to deliver.

‘In my mind, the prize is quite simply the sovereign future of this independent-minded democracy.’

Mr Hosking was ranked number 309 in the Sunday Times Rich List in 2015, with a value of £330million. He is the founder of Marathon Asset Management.

In 2010, he bought the West Sussex country house hotel, the Gravetye Manor, out of administration.

He is a collector of vintage steam trains which he described as a ‘childhood obsession meets mid-life crisis.’

Last year he organised the locomotive Lord Dowding to take paying Crystal Palace fans from London to Southampton for the last match of the Premier League season with the promise the players would join them on the return.

His move to back Brexit supporting candidates in target seats comes after the Best for Britain group, led by pro-EU campaigner Gina Miller, raised £300,000 through crowdfunding to support candidates opposed to an ‘extreme Brexit’.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4504084/Jeremy-Hosking-hoping-replace-pro-remain-MPs.html

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