Ten Days to Seal a Deal: Farage Calls on Boris to Drop Treaty Clauses that Trap UK in EU

SUTTON IN ASHFIELD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05: Brexit party leader Nigel Farage talks to a shop owner as he takes part in an election campaign walk about on November 05, 2019 in Sutton in Ashfield, England. The UK’s main parties are gearing up for a December 12 general election after …
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Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has said that he hopes Boris Johnson changes his mind on forming a Leave Alliance and called on the prime minister to drop two aspects of the EU-approved withdrawal treaty that could lock the United Kingdom in the EU post-Brexit.

Mr Farage has said he will keep the offer for a Leave alliance open for ten days before going ahead with his plans to field candidates in all seats across Great Britain.

“There is still a chance of a Leave alliance that can be put together. There are still ten days for [Boris Johnson] to change tack. I hope he does,” Farage said in comments reported by The Sun.

The Conservatives have continued to rebuff Mr Farage’s offer of an alliance, where parties would strategically only run one candidate in certain seats so as not to split the Brexit vote, in exchange for Mr Johnson dropping the withdrawal agreement with the EU which Farage says “is not Brexit”.

The Brexit Party leader has recently sought a compromise on his commitment to a “clean-break Brexit” if the prime minister pursues a “genuine” free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU. The Brexit Party leader is also reportedly holding unofficial discussions with Brexiteer Tory MPs for pacts at the local level, where Mr Farage would stand down his candidates in exchange for the individual Conservatives pledging to not back Boris’s deal.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday, Mr Farage laid out two new conditions for a party pact, urging the prime minister to back a hard deadline for the extension period and dropping any prospect of so-called regulatory alignment with the EU post-Brexit.

Mr Farage said: “We will be passing a treaty that makes it very clear in Article 184 that we will be bound by the terms of the Political Declaration. And what I am saying is this: Boris Johnson needs to make it clear that he will fundamentally change the Political Declaration in two ways.

“Firstly, to get rid of the clause that allows an extension to go on until at least 2022. We need to have the clause in the Political Declaration removed so we have a hard deadline.”

“And the second point is we simply cannot, absolutely cannot, bind ourselves to a trade deal that gives us regulatory alignment [with the EU] that will prevent us from doing trade deals with the rest of the world and mean we’re not making our own laws.”

If Conservatives insist on backing Johnson’s deal, Mr Farage will run candidates in all seats, including challenging the Tories, in order to give voters a “choice” in the December 12th election.

“We’ve got to do that because people in an election deserve to have a choice. You’ve got revoke with the Lib Dems, a second referendum with Labour, a half-in, half-out Remainer’s Brexit with Boris, and we’re offering a clean break,” he told the Today programme.

Mr Farage has rejected suggestions that by contesting all seats his party would split the Brexit vote and hand the government to Labour, saying rather that his party is “going to score very highly, particularly in Labour Leave areas”.

The lack of progress with a Leave alliance is in contrast to the fringe Remainer parties the Liberal Democrats, Greens, and Plaid Cymru who have formed a strategic election pact called Unite to Remain.

The group believes it could turn up to 60 seats across the country anti-Brexit.

The Telegraph reported on Thursday that the Conservatives have called on the Electoral Commission to investigate the pact for potential breaches in electoral law.

Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly wrote to the election watchdog over concerns Unite to Remain had not registered as a third-party campaigner, saying there was evidence the anti-Brexit group was “coordinating resources, funding and campaigning for a general election campaign and potentially breaching electoral law”.

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