Police are assessing allegations by Nigel Farage that Brexit Party candidates were approached by the Conservatives and offered peerages in the House of Lords.
The Metropolitan Police is looking into the allegations after Nigel Farage and Anne Widdecombe, a former frontline Tory politician, accused the governing party of trying to buy off Brexit Party candidates with life peerages.
Mr Farage alleged that “there was a concerted attempt from people who work deep inside Number 10 Downing street” to neutralise Brexit Party members by offering them seats in the House of Lords and other state positions in return for standing down in the upcoming elections.
Ann Widdecombe, the Brexit Party candidate in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, allegedly received two phone calls from Conservatives offering her a role as part of the government’s post-election Brexit negotiating team, said Nigel Farage.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5, Farage also alleged that Sir Eddie Lister, a top adviser to Boris Johnson, had offered another Brexit Pary candidate a state position in higher education.
“It’s corruption. What shocks me is how little shock there is about this”, he said.
“Are we going to have a politics based on rules or not?” beseeched the Brexit Party leader.
Politics in this country is broken and corrupt. We need to Change Politics For Good. This is why: pic.twitter.com/kWEP5CTmYz
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) November 14, 2019
The feud over electoral fraud came as Nigel Farage “put country before party” and stood down 317 candidates in constituencies where Conservatives won in 2017, imploring the Tories to “return the favour” and stand down in areas where the Brexit Party stood a better chance of winning.
Farage rejected a last-minute “deal” from the Tories that would have seen an additional 260 Brexit Party candidates step aside in return for the Conservatives running so-called “paper candidates” in 40 constituencies where the Brexit Party might have stood a good chance of defeating Labour.
This would have seen the Tories still field their own candidates in those constituencies, but not put much 0effort into campaigning for them locally — a “concession” unlikely to shift many votes from the Tories to Labour, given most voters are swayed by campaigning at the national level rather than constituency activists.
For his part, Boris has flatly denied any knowledge of any deals offered to Brexit Party candidates.
“What is this nonsense? I am sure there are conversations that take place between politicians of all parties but certainly nobody’s been offered a peerage”, he claimed.
Brandon Lewis, the Conservative Security Minister, also denied the allegations of electoral fraud, saying: “We are not offering deals, we are not doing deals.”
Mr Farage in response to the denials demanded: “Is he calling Ann Widdecombe a liar?”
‘Seismic Shock’: Veteran Tory Ann Widdecombe Defects to Farage’s Brexit Party https://t.co/zIHItvun6R
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 24, 2019
The allegations have cut across the political divide in the United Kingdom, drawing the ire of Labour peer and former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, who wrote a letter to the Metropolitan Police, demanding an investigation into the allegations, pointing specifically to the “bribery” section of the Representation of the People Act 1983.
“I believe these allegations raise serious questions about the integrity of the upcoming General Election, and in particular whether senior individuals at CCHQ or No. 10 have breached two sections of the Representation of the People Act 1983”, he wrote.
Labour party chairman Ian Lavery also called for an investigation, saying: “This could be political corruption of the highest order and, in addition to that, it could be seen as criminal activity.”
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that: “The [Metropolitan Police] has received two allegations of electoral fraud and malpractice in relation to the 2019 General Election. The MPS special enquiry team is responsible for investigating all such criminal allegations. Both allegations are currently being assessed.”
Nigel Farage said that while he doesn’t expect any legal action will be taken against the Tories, the whole affair shows just how “rotten and broken” politics has become in the United Kingdom.
Delingpole: The House of Lords Is a Foetid Swamp. Boris Johnson Must Drain It https://t.co/JtHhcqVinX
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 29, 2019