Pro-EU Lithuanian MEP Antanas Guoga to run for UKIP leader
A pro-European Union MEP from Lithuania is to stand to become the next leader of Ukip, he has announced.
Antanas Guoga, a professional poker-player more commonly known as Tony G, said he would be the candidate to represent eurosceptics who had changed their mind after the effects of Brexit had become apparent.
“Given that recent research suggests that 1.2 million Leave voters regret their choice, UKIP needs a pro-European candidate to broaden the debate and represent the UKIP voters who have changed their mind,” he said.
Mr Guoga said he had reviewed the Ukip party constitution and believed he was eligible to stand.
“I am writing to you today to confirm my intention to run for the position of leader of Ukip,” he wrote in a letter to the party’s returning officer Roger Bird.
“I reviewed the leadership credentials and the party constitution and see no reason why a man of my standing cannot apply. So, I sincerely hope you receive my application in good faith.”
The MEP sits for Lithuania’s Liberal Movement party, a centre-right conservative liberal party. It has two MEPs.
In the European Parliament he sits with the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats in Europe – the same group as the Liberal Democrats.
Mr Guoga pledged to give his salary to the UK’s National Health Service if elected – joking: “this time for real” – a reference to Vote Leave’s rubbished £350 million for the NHS claim.
Ukip is to have a leadership election after Nigel Farage announced he would stand down.
Possibly successors include Paul Nuttal, Steve Wolfe, or Suzanne Evans.