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  1. ITV Report

Brexit is the priority even if UK splits, Nigel Farage tells Robert Peston

Farage said it would be 'deeply regrettable' if there were parts of the UK breakaway. Credit: ITV Peston

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has said leaving the European Union is more important than keeping the United Kingdom together.

The MEP told ITV's Peston show it would be "deeply regrettable" if parts of the UK breakaway but Brexit is the priority.

He also said he had "no regrets whatsoever" for turning his back while Ode To Joy played in European Parliament.

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Farage told ITV's Peston Show: "Look, being an independent self-governing nation is the number one.

"If there were parts of the United Kingdom that didn’t wish to stay part of it that would be deeply regrettable but I just don't believe that to be the case - I really genuinely don't believe it."

He also confirmed that the Brexit Party will "fight for every seat in the country" and said he hopes to have 650 members to be vetted by next week, in the event of an upcoming general election.

When asked whether he would work with the new Tory leader, he said he would be open to doing an electoral deal with the leader if they could be trusted to deliver Brexit.

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Tory MP Nicky Morgan said it has become "a bit of a shame" the Tory leadership contest has become a "race to the bottom".

She added: "Conservative Party members want to remain in power and actually if we have a no-deal, what it would do is increase the chance of a general election which would increase Jeremy Corbyn in power and we do not want that."

Also appearing on the ITV programme is Dominic Raab, who is now backing Boris Johnson to be leader of the party.

Dominic Raab tells Robert Peston the Tory party need to deliver on Brexit. Credit: ITV Peston

When asked whether Brexit is more important than keeping the UK together Raab said: "Of course we want to keep the Union together and the biggest threat to the Union is those calling for a second referendum because that would be a gift to the SNP and we shouldn't be doing that."

He added: "We need to deliver on Brexit, get beyond Brexit, get beyond the rut this country is in...and then move on."

Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley Jess Phillips has said Boris Johnson's anger towards women is a problem.

She said: "His character is the only thing that Boris Johnson actually trades on because he doesn't actually have any successes to fall back on.

"His character, with what cases that have come out, particularly his anger towards women is a problem!"

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Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who recently finished his two-week hunger strike, said Johnson needs to take more responsibility for the impact his words have had.

He also compared Hunt's approach to Johnson's to release his wife from the Tehran jail in Iran.

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He said the foreign secretary has always been straightforward on camera and behind closed doors and has said the same thing.

He added: "He's clearly done things more assertively, he's engaged more, it's been easier to meet with him but it remains the fact that she's still in prison and whoever becomes prime minister, we'll be knocking on their door and saying this is a problem to solve."