REPORT: Brexiteer Tories in Talks with Farage over Election Pact

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Leader of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage speaks onstage on August 27, 2019 in London, England. The Brexit Party conference held at the Emmanuel Centre is due to reveal plans for a future general election. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Members of the Conservative Party’s European Research Group (ERG) are reportedly holding “very tentative” talks with the Brexit Party over striking an election pact.

The claims were made by The Telegraph on Friday night, with a source telling the newspaper: “There have been conversations between the Brexit Party and the ERG. Not just with Farage but also at a local level. The feeling is that it would be mad to let the Remainers do an alliance but not the Brexiteeers.

“Many Brexit Party voters are core Conservatives. A lot of them are Conservative Party members. There are many who believe that if Vote Leave and Leave.EU worked together during the referendum campaign then the Leave vote would have been even higher. We can’t afford to make the same mistake again.”

Prime Minister Johnson is trying to trigger a snap election to resolve the Brexit deadlock, but attempts to do so have been thwarted by Remain-backing MPs who voted against the government last week. Mr Johnson is expected to call again for an election on Monday.

The report comes after the party’s most senior backbench Tory Eurosceptic Steve Baker, the newly-appointed chairman of the ERG, told media on Tuesday that the Conservatives must come to “some sort of an accommodation” with the Brexit Party or face handing a victory to the “Remain coalition”. Tory “Spartans” such as Mr Baker back a no deal Brexit, rejecting any renegotiated soft-Brexit treaty with the EU and find such common ground with the Brexit Party.

Nigel Farage has said that he would “put country before party” and agree to a “non-aggression pact” with the Tories which would entail “fighting our electoral battles selectively” with both agreeing not to field candidates in seats which the other would be more likely to win. However, Mr Farage said such a pact would only be on condition that “Mr Johnson commits to a clean-break Brexit”.

Speaking to the BBC on Thursday, Mr Farage said that Prime Minister Johnson would need to strike a deal with him because “he cannot win an election, whenever it comes, if the Brexit Party stands against him”, but added that a Tory-Brexit Party pact would be “unstoppable”.

Mr Farage is planning a ‘Northern attack’ on Labour’s Brexit-supporting heartlands, whose voters have been let down by the party after Jeremy Corbyn threw his support behind a second referendum and Remain. Speaking at a rally in Doncaster this week, Mr Farage condemned the Labour Party, which is now dominated by the London liberal elite, saying: “Labour have betrayed the North. Only the Brexit Party can win in their former heartlands.”

“Here we are in South Yorkshire where 80 per cent voted by more that 60 per cent to leave the European Union, and it is in South Yorkshire where virtually every seat has been Labour for decade after decade.

“However much the Conservatives have failed to deliver Brexit since 2016, it is Labour who have brazenly betrayed five million of their own voters,” he added.

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