Annunziata Rees-Mogg (pictured) told The Mail on Sunday of her shock at the level of vitriol directed by his supporters
Annunziata Rees-Mogg told The Mail on Sunday of her shock at the level of vitriol directed by his supporters since she went public with her decision on Thursday.
The 40-year-old was bitterly denounced as a Tory stooge by Mr Farage after she quit along with three other MEPs and urged her supporters to back Mr Johnson.
She has also been called a 'betrayer' and a 'turncoat' by the Farage loyalists after concluding that the party risked handing seats to Labour by splitting the anti-Corbyn vote.
Ms Rees-Mogg said: 'I think it's a sad state of affairs that they feel personal attacks are required. I don't feel I have changed who I am or what I'm saying, I just can't support a party which is going out of its way to undermine the chances of delivering Brexit.'
Mr Farage escalated the war of words with Ms Rees-Mogg by claiming during an interview with the BBC's Andrew Neil last week that her decision had been influenced by her Tory Cabinet Minister brother, Jacob.
But a furious Ms Rees-Mogg, who left the party along with John Longworth, Lance Forman and Lucy Harris, said: 'It's not like I've got a new brother. I was announced at the launch of the Brexit Party as Jacob's sister. Those kind of attacks just seem futile and rather tragic. I am really sorry that they feel that digging dirt… is necessary.'
Ms Rees-Mogg, who now believes that Mr Johnson's Brexit deal is 'the only game in town', claims that Mr Farage risks 'ruining his reputation' as the architect of Brexit by refusing to stand down his candidates.
Annunziata Rees-Mogg, sister of Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, shakes hands with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage at the launch of the Brexit Party in April
She said: 'They say that every political career ends in failure: he could have been the exception to that, but sadly I think he's ensuring that's not the case. I remain a fan of all that Nigel has achieved and I think the Brexit Party has made an incredible difference to the future of Brexit.
'The problem is that they are now risking all of that and everything that went before it in order for some kind of ideological purity that doesn't exist.'
Jacob Rees-Mogg – who has been banished from the Tory campaign after making ill-judged remarks about the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire – has a close, highly protective relationship with his younger sister. But she insists he played no role in her decision to quit. 'It's not like he's ever told me what to do,' she said.
Ms Rees-Mogg's decision followed what she calls the 'drip, drip' realisation that the Brexit Party's efforts could negate the Commons majority Mr Johnson needs to secure Brexit.
She said: 'I think if we have another weak government of the type Theresa May achieved after 2017 then Brexit will be almost totally doomed.
'The Withdrawal Bill as proposed by Boris needs to get through Parliament – the Remainers will try all sorts of wrecking tactics in order to prevent Brexit. If we don't have a strong government with a decent majority then Brexit is still at risk.
Ms Rees-Mogg, who is six months' pregnant with her third child, is clear that it is the Brexit project, not Boris, which motivated her defection
'That is why I think it's so important that the Brexit Party don't split the vote and prevent Leavers getting into Parliament.' She added: 'If I wasn't worried by a minority government or a coalition then I would have probably kept quiet.'
Ms Rees-Mogg predicts the Election result will be 'too close to call' and involve the Brexit Party taking more votes from the Tories than from Labour.
'I couldn't have sat by and watched that happen, any more than I was able to sit by and watch Theresa May sell our country down the river,' she added.
'This is an incredibly important moment in our country's history, it is shaping our future freedom for hopefully generations to come. And making sure that is achieved… isn't something that anyone or any party should be risking.'
Ms Rees-Mogg, who is six months' pregnant with her third child, is clear that it is the Brexit project, not Boris, which motivated her defection.
Asked whether she expected him to be a good PM if he won, Ms Rees-Mogg – who fell out with David Cameron when he asked her to 'de-toff' her name to Nancy Mogg when she was standing as a Tory candidate – said: 'I hope he will be, but Boris is not really my cup of tea. I don't intrinsically trust him. I find him a complicated character.
'But on Brexit, I am convinced that he is honourable, and that is what matters.'