New North East Brexit MEP denies being a hypocrite for living in France
Newly-elected Brexit Party MEP Brian Montieth denied he was a hypocrite for living in France and said the result in the North East was "an emphatic victory".
The new party won two seats with the third going to Labour, and Mr Montieth said the result should be a warning to the government and opposition that Brexit must be delivered.
The Brexit Party won 240,056 votes, ahead of Labour with 119,931 and the Liberal Democrats on 104,330. The Tories came fifth behind the Green Party.
Speaking after the results for the North East were announced in Sunderland, Mr Montieth said he was in the process of moving from France back to the UK.
He said: "I think it is an emphatic victory for the Brexit Party.
"We have seen Labour and Conservatives both have their worst ever results in the North East and it shows that people want a Brexit."
Mr Montieth said it had not bothered voters that he lived in France, despite him standing on an anti-EU ticket, saying: "There's nothing hypocritical in being a European but not believing in the EU."
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He said non-EU countries like Switzerland, Norway and Iceland were still European.
Asked what the result in the North East meant for the Tories and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, he said: "It sends a very strong message that they have to be clear about delivering Brexit, that's what they have failed to do and they are paying the consequences."
Labour's Jude Kirton-Darling used her acceptance speech to say the party's message had not been clear enough.
She said: "People don't know what we stand for.
"Our voters don't want a Tory Brexit.
"If we don't let the public back in to decide what happens next they will abandon us before we can deliver a government capable of bringing the transformative change that we need in this region and across the country."