Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused Nigel Farage’s offer of an electoral non-aggression pact between the Tories and the Brexit Party, despite backing from an overwhelming majority of both Tory and Brexit Party voters.
Johnson insisted that “Of course” the Tories would be contesting every available seat in any General Election — including, presumably, those seats where they stand next to no chance of winning, but where the Brexit Party could break through without the Tories splitting the Leave vote — and that his party would be running “as Conservatives and not in an alliance or a pact, or a coupon deal”.
“I can’t understand why Boris does not want to win a big Brexit majority and smash the Remain parties,” Farage tweeted in response to the statement by the prime minister.
“Perhaps he doesn’t want a clean break Brexit and prefers Mrs May’s sell-out. That would be a total disaster,” he added.
Speaking to Breitbart London before the prime minister made his intervention, Mr Farage said it would be foolhardy of Mr Johnson to “close the door” to an agreement so early, as come the time of an actual vote with the electoral realities staring him in the face, he might find he actually needs it.
Mr Farage told Breitbart London: “The refusal does not play to Boris Johnson’s base. The base overwhelmingly wants an accommodation of some kind, there’s no question about that… [Rejecting a Brexit pact] would be an irrational thing to do.
“If Boris Johnson was moved towards a clean break Brexit, in those circumstances to not do a deal with us would be a huge, huge help to Corbyn, but perhaps even more relevantly to Jo Swinson. We keep talking about Corbyn as being the opposition leader but the opinion polls keep showing that might be shifting.”
Brexit Spartans Call for Johnson to Reverse Rejection of Farage Election Pact https://t.co/6ZEumfBnW0
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 13, 2019
There has rarely been discussion of the electoral threat the Liberal Democrats may pose to the Conservatives in certain regions, at least in part because it serves the Tories well to remind the public of the threat to the country Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn faces. But Brexit leader Nigel Farage notes their certain position of Brexit has won them converts in some areas, while also marking them out as a clear threat to Brexiteer voters.
Speaking in his conversation with Breitbart London, Mr Farage said of this facet of a potential electoral pact with the Conservatives to see off the Liberal Democrats as well as Labour in marginal seats: “It’s easier [to oppose the Liberal Democrats than Labour], isn’t it? Here we have a party based on hypocrisy, totally going against what they promised the electorate.
“They were supportive of a referendum, Paddy Ashdown making it clear he’d fight anyone who tried to stop the outcome being implemented. In that sense they are easy to attack — in the South West of England, the region of the whole country where they pose the biggest threat in terms of potential seats they can win.
“The attack on Labour is also easy — Corbyn is sitting on the fence but the entire rest of the front bench are outright remain. The Labour Party is now a Remain party.”
Polling reported by The Telegraph indicates that 63 per cent of Conservative voters and 79 per cent of Brexit Party voters back Farage’s plan, which has also received the endorsement of senior Tory Brexiteers such as European Research Group (ERG) leader Steve Baker, and Jacob Rees-Mogg — whose sister Annunziata is a Brexit Party MEP — recently indicated that Brexiteers “owe [Farage] a great debt”.
But, nevertheless, Prime Minister Johnson has turned down Mr Farage’s offer — which some unhappy Brexit supporters take as a sign that the Tory leader would rather share the House of Commons with Labour Remainers than Farage’s Brexiteers.
Crucially, ComRes polling on electoral alliances indicates that 28 per cent of Labour Leavers would consider swinging behind a Tory candidate if Mr Farage endorsed them, rendering Johnson’s decision highly questionable from an electoral perspective.
Fifty-seven per cent of Leave voters, in general, believe that Farage’s proposed non-aggression pact represents the best chance of actually delivering Brexit in the face of persistent intransigence on the part of Remain-voting MPs, who continue to dominate Parliament and even comprise a majority in Johnson’s Cabinet.
Nigel Farage, who had been campaigning for British independence from the European Union for decades before Johnson came out for Brexit late in the 2016 referendum on membership of the bloc, has been urging the Tory leader to stand aside in Leave-voting Labour constituencies where his Brexit Party has the best chance of ousting Labour.
In return, the Brexit Party leader has said he would stand aside in seats where Tories are the incumbents or the number one challengers — he has already given a unilateral undertaking not to stand candidates against sitting Tory MPs who have pledged to support a clean, no-deal Brexit — and to support a Johnson-led administration in Parliament without seeking a government position for himself.
Farage Urges Boris to Agree Election Pact, or Tories Will Be Responsible for ‘Saddling Country with Corbyn Govt’ https://t.co/dgr1qPQPT7
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 20, 2019