Tory grandee Ann Widdecombe has defected to the Brexit Party to stand as a candidate in the upcoming Euro elections.

The former minister, who served as a Conservative MP for 13 years, said she hoped the new outfit led by Nigel Farage would sweep to victory and send a clear message to her old party and Labour.

Writing in the Daily Express, she said: I am standing for the Brexit Party in order that I may campaign vigorously and convince my fellow voters that this time it is imperative to fire a very loud warning shot across the bows of the parties they would normally support.

It comes after a former Labour election candidate was revealed as a candidate for Change UK, which is branding itself as the home of the Remain alliance in the poll on 23 May.

Another cohort of MEPs are on track to be elected after Theresa May twice asked for Brexit to be delayed because she could not get a deal through the UK parliament.

Ms Widdecombe said she hoped Labour would lose in its heartlands and the Conservatives in the shires to send a message that we want you to just get on with it.

I will be voting Conservative in the local elections and I remain a member of the party but when central office reads this I expect they will kick me out, she added.

And if that happens, then so be it…

If I am elected when I arrive in Brussels my message to [EU Commission President Jean-Claude] Juncker and company will be very simple, very loud and very clear: Nous allons [we go].

Ms Widdecombe also slammed the hopelessly inadequate prime minister and accused her of presiding over a party that broke promises made in its 2017 general election manifesto.

Britain is on track to leave the EU by 31 October, but would be forced to pull out on 1 June if it refuses to participate in the Euro elections.

(c) Sky News 2019: Tory grandee Ann Widdecombe to stand as Brexit Party candidate