Former Brexit Party MP hopeful dies in Bahamas diving accident
- Credit: Archant
A former Brexit Party MEP and Waveney parliamentary candidate in the 2019 General Election has died in a diving accident near his home in the Bahamas.
Robert Rowland, 54, was among the first of the chosen candidates announced by the party as they prepared for the election, months ahead of it being announced.
The businessman represented the South East of England at the European Parliament from July 2019 until December 2020.
Nigel Farage announced the death of the father-of-four, who was born in Bowdon, Greater Manchester, on the website of the Reform Party, the new name for the Brexit Party.
He said: “It is with great sadness that I have to announce the death of Robert Rowland, after a diving accident near his home in the Bahamas.
“Following a successful career in the City, Robert was an enthusiastic Brexit Party MEP and larger than life character.
"He leaves a wife, Lisa Marie, and four children.
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“On behalf of myself, and all those who were involved with the Brexit Party, I extend our sincerest condolences to his family.”
Mr Rowland made a number of visits to Waveney in the run up to the election being announced, before dropping out of the race to contest the seat, which was retained by Conservative Peter Aldous.
The decision came as party leader Mr Farage announced candidates would not stand in seats won by Conservatives in 2017.
In a letter to this newspaper, Mr Rowland called the decision "magnanimous", saying: "Towns like Lowestoft bear the scars of years of wilful neglect and it is only through far sighted thinking and bold initiatives that there can be a chance of revival."
He began working alongside fellow Brexit Party MEP, and Lowestoft fishing campaigner June Mummery, who represented the East of England.
Taking to Twitter, Ms Mummery said: "You will be missed my friend."
Previously, Mr Rowland had spoken of his desire to "break the cycle of despair" in Waveney, as he labelled Lowestoft's coastline as "great aquatic real estate."
He said: "The plan is so simple. Get the fishing port thriving and get thousands of people employed.
"Vast areas of this constituency are a tragedy. The most easterly point in the UK looks run down and a disgrace.
"It is criminal what has happened to this town."