Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, saying that Prime Minister Boris Johnson must be ‘held to account’, has refused to step aside in a further 300 seats, rebuffing a last-minute offer from Johnson which would have seen the Brexit Party just contest 40 nationwide.
With just hours before the 4 pm election deadline Mr Farage, who decided earlier this week to ‘put country before party’ and stand down 317 candidates, said today that he would not be stepping aside in another 300 seats to give the Conservatives a clear run against anti-Brexit candidates.
“In seats that the Conservatives have never won in 100 years, your best chance of getting Brexit is to get us in there and hold Boris Johnson to account,” Mr Farage said.
Mr Farage already stood down in 300 seats on Monday, declaring a “unilateral” leave alliance in the hope it would encourage the Conservatives to be more accommodating, but the move has not been reciprocated.
The Brexit Party rejected a last-minute ‘election pact’ from Johnson, who asked Farage to stand down candidates in 260 seats in return for the Conservative Party running so-called ‘paper candidates’, —candidates with no resources or attempts at campaigning behind them — in the 40 remaining seats.
Farage scoffed at the deeply asymmetric ‘deal’, which would see the Brexit Party surrender almost everywhere in return for nearly nothing, demanding that the Conservatives withdraw altogether from those races. The Brexit leader insisted that polling suggests the Brexit Party stands a better chance of winning over Labour constituencies and that Tory candidates would split the Leave vote.
Farage Calls on Boris to Put Country Before Tory Party and Stand Down in Labour Areas https://t.co/v83mZMZyML
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 12, 2019
“I would have stood down in lots of key marginals in return for a few on the other side. I would not have even asked for 40 [seats]… There would have been a guaranteed Leave majority in Parliament and they refused to do it,” Farage told The Telegraph.
“It is completely maddening. I said to them, ‘I can win you the general election now’, and they chose not to take that option”, he added.
Mr Farage first proposed an election pact with the Conservatives back in September, claiming that an alliance with the Brexit Party would be ‘unstoppable’. Despite repeated overtures from Farage, Johnson has not been able to ‘return the favour’ and propose a deal that the Brexit Party leader could accept.
While campaigning in Coventry, Mr Johnson said: “It is always a very difficult thing for any party leader to withdraw candidates from an election and I understand that.”
“But all I can say … for the avoidance of doubt, to repeat my central message, there is only one way to ensure that we get Brexit done … and that is to vote for us and the Conservatives”, he concluded.
A victory for the campaign to leave the European Union will now most likely won by people voting tactically, however, for his part Mr Farage, who lives in an area in Kent in which the Brexit Party has stood down, wrote that based on how the Conservative Party has acted this week, he ‘could not vote for them’.
No, given the way the Conservative party have behaved this week – I could not vote for them. https://t.co/Uj0jkyR6yG
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) November 13, 2019