UK Election: Nigel Farage Withdraws Hundreds of Candidates; Move to Boost PM Johnson’s Conservatives
Farage: “The Brexit Party will not contest the 317 seats the Conservatives won at the last election.”
In a massive boost to Prime Minister Boris Johnson-led British Conservatives, Nigel Farage has pulled hundreds of Brexit Party candidates ahead of the December 12 election. The Brexit Party will not field candidates in all 317 seats that the ruling Conservative party won in the last general election.
“The Brexit party will not contest the 317 seats the Conservatives won at the last election,” Farage said. “We will concentrate our total effort into all the seats that are held by the Labour party, who have completely broken their manifesto pledge in 2017 to respect the result of the referendum, and we will also take on the rest of the remainer parties. We will stand up and fight them all.”
Farage, who announced last week that he was not standing for election himself, had been campaigning to get Brexit Party candidates elected to the next parliament. After today’s announcement, he is expected to concentrate on pro-EU lawmakers from the Liberal Democrats and the Labour party contesting from vulnerable seats.
British newspaper The Independent reported the Brexit Party leader’s unexpected climbdown:
Nigel Farage has sensationally backed down on his threat to stand Brexit Party general election candidates in every constituency across Britain, announcing the party will not fight the 317 seats won by Tories in 2017.
The move, which he termed a “unilateral Leave alliance”, represents a massive boost for Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in the battle for the 12 December general election, removing the danger that they might lose seats by splitting the pro-Brexit vote. However it could mean Tories face a tough battle to pick up Labour-held seats, where traditional supporters of Jeremy Corbyn’s party who support Leave will have the option of voting for the Brexit Party.
Responding to the announcement, Mr Johnson told Sky News he had “absolutely not” done a deal with Farage, adding: “I’m glad that there is a recognition that there is only one way to get Brexit done and that is to vote for us and to vote for the Conservatives.”
The announcement came shortly after Prime Minister Johnson promised a Brexit by 2020 and to secure a Canada-style trade deal with the European Union. Johnson welcomed Farage’s “recognition that another gridlocked hung Parliament is the greatest threat to getting Brexit done,” adding that “only a Conservative majority can get Brexit done by the end of January with a deal that’s agreed and ready to go.”
The Brexit Party had the potential of costing Prime Minister Johnson the election, a “wargaming” simulation conducted by the Daily Telegraph concluded on Monday. The newspaper predicted, “Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party could decide [the] election by denying Conservatives 90 extra seats.”
Johnson’s Conservatives, who hold a comfortable lead over their main rival the Labour party, have seen the victory margin narrow in recent weeks. The pro-EU Liberal Democrats and the Greens have floated a “Remain Alliance” to thwart Brexit in case the Tory’s fail to secure a majority in next month’s election.
Farage’s election decision paves the way for a decisive Conservative victory. Johnson now has to stand firm on his key promise to withdraw the country from the EU and mobilize the unified pro-Brexit vote.
Nigel Farage stands down hundreds of Brexit Party candidates
[Cover image via YouTube]
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