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Nigel Farage in Maidstone for Brexit Party rally

Nigel Farage has put his new Brexit Party on an election footing at a rally attended by hundreds of activists and supporters in Maidstone.

He told the audience the party would be prepared to form a "non aggression" pact with the Conservatives so long as the UK makes a clean break from the EU.

Nigel Farage on Boris Johnstone and Brexit

In a crowd-pleasing address he said his decision to return to frontline politics was the only option for him after the failure of the Conservative government to deliver Brexit as promised.

He said no other county was like Kent when it came to absorbing the pressures of immigration.

Referring to the the numbers of of migrants trying to reach UK by crossing the Channel in dinghies, he said it was the consequence of "weak government" and was a "farcical situation".

But he rejected accusations that the the party was intolerant, saying: "Surely common sense says you cannot have a complete open door; you need controlled immigration."

Several hundred people were expected to attend tonight's rally, at the Detling showground, amid a turbulent week in politics which has seen a court rule the government was wrong to suspend parliament.

However, our political editor Paul Francis, who is at the event, estimates around 1,500 people were in the audience.

Among them was former Maidstone MP Ann Widdecombe, who defected to the party to stand in the EU election.

Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Farage rejected complaints the language used by some MPs in last night's Brexit debate in parliament was over the top.

"It is nothing compared to the abuse we had as Ukip," he told KentOnline.

"If Boris Johnson does get that Theresa May deal through I think he will be shocked - don't predict where a Brexit party vote will come from at an election."

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