Arron Banks, an ally of Donald Trump hailed as “the man who bought Brexit” through enormous donations to the Leave campaign, wants to bankroll a Trump-style campaign to “drain the swamp” in the UK.
Insurance tycoon Banks, a major UKIP donor, is drawing up plans to abandon the party he funds to create a new “movement” which will pit 200 parliamentary candidates “against the 200 worst, most corrupt MPs.”
Banks met Trump over the weekend in New York as part of UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s entourage. The President-elect campaigned on a platform to rid Washington of perceived corruption among networks of career politicians — and Banks believes the Brexit vote shows there is the same appetite in the UK for anti-establishment candidates to flourish during a general election.
He said that Keith Vaz would be his first target. The married Labour MP was was accused in September of paying for the services of male escorts, and is also under police investigation for alleged drug offences.
Banks told the Times: “You would rate MPs by (undesirability) with Keith Vaz at number one, and field a great candidate, a military guy, doctor, someone who has done something with their life.
“It would be a one-off attempt to drain the swamp. It would be highly amusing to tease career politicians with a hot poker,” he said.
Banks intends to target up to 200 from the 650 MPs that sit in Westminster who he believes are corrupt, careerist, or lazy. He would initially fund the venture himself, but would then try and mobilise support from the wealthy donors who funded Leave.eu, the pro-Brexit campaign group he helped to found.
Among the ideas his “movement” could support are new rules that mean MPs can only hold office for two terms, replacing the unelected House of Lords with an elected senate, and introducing a lower age limit of 40 for MPs to prevent “career politicians” from flourishing. Farage could be involved with the project, but he is unable to comment for as long as he remains a member of UKIP.
“It’s a very simple agenda: to destroy the professional politician,” Banks said. “I like the idea of clearing the place out, setting new rules, maybe reducing the number of MPs. Not a party from the left or right. Just to clear out the worst lot.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.