Will The Brexit Party Steal Tory Or Labour Votes?

Plus, Farage refuses to say where he'll stand for election, having failed to get elected to the Commons seven times already.

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Will The Brexit Party Steal Tory Or Labour votes?

Nigel Farage, dragged kicking and screaming back into frontline politics, today threatened Boris Johnson . Agree to a “Leave alliance” or the Brexit Party will stand candidates in every seat across England, Scotland and Wales. He has set the prime minister a two-week deadline to comply. Or else.

The Brexit Party leader wants Johnson to replace the exit deal he secured with the EU, and actually won a Commons majority for, with a free trade agreement … which is not going to happen.

‌Johnson told ITV News this evening that a vote for Farage’s party was a vote for a Jeremy Corbyn government. “I may respectfully say to all our friends around the world,′ the PM said, addressing Donald Trump, ‘That the only way to get this thing done is to vote for us.’

‌Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly added Farage “risks letting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street via the back door” by dividing the Leave vote. And ERG chairman Steve Baker spent the day tweeting supportive messages about Johnson. The Brexit hardman told PA he would not be “bullied” by Farage.

‌The question everyone is asking today is will the Brexit Party take more votes from the Conservatives or Labour.

‌Speaking at his campaign launch in Westminster this morning, Farage warned Corbyn he would present a “very major problem” for Labour in Wales, the midlands and the north of England. It is “lazy thinking” to believe Brexit voters are all Tories, he added.

‌But polling legend John Curtice said told BBC Radio 4’s World at One it was “unlikely” Labour would suffer more than the Tories. Professor Rob Ford had a useful Twitter thread today arguingFarage is making the classic mistake in thinking most Labour voters in Labour Leave seats are Leave voters. “There’s no possible world” the Brexit Party helps Johnson secure a majority, he argues. But Tory polling guru Lord Hayward told HuffPost UK’s Commons People podcast yesterday theabsence of a Brexit Party candidate would actually help Labour and hurt the Tories in many seats.

‌A snap YouGov poll conducted today and released this afternoon showed 63% of Leave voters do not blame Johnson for missing his self-imposed October 31 exit deadline. Of Tory voters, 69% do not blame the PM. And 37% of general population say it’s not his fault too. Johnson now says he will try and deliver Brexit by mid-January .

‌As for his own plans, Farage refused to be drawn on where he intends to stand for election, having failed to get elected to the Commons seven times already. But speaking to the BBC he did repeat the rumour that Johnson plans to abandon Uxbridge and “head off to a safer seat somewhere”. Something described to me as “utter bollocks” by one Tory source.

‌Corbyn meanwhile has reason to be pretty happy as the direction of the campaign takes shape, even if the polls do show him trailing. As Paul points out , it would be pretty ironic if the tactic deployed by Vote Leave to win the referendum, weaponising the NHS , ended up being the issue that delivered a Labour-led government.

‌But there were signs of trouble ahead. At his campaign launch yesterday, Corbyn insisted his Brexit policy “really isn’t complicated”. Which is fair, but the policy of holding a second referendum while not yet having committed to one side or the other looks like it will expose the divisions in the party.

Jon Trickett confirmed to Sky News, having first told The Guardian in October, that he was“inclined” campaign to Leave rather than Remain. Corbyn himself yesterday declined to reveal which way he would vote. Ideal for the Lib Dems . Expect every single shadow cabinet minister to be asked the same question in the coming days.

Quote Of The Day

“I say to Boris Johnson – drop the deal.”

Nigel Farage delivers his terms to the prime minister.

Friday Cheat Sheet

ITV will show the first head-to-head debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on November 19. The Labour leader said on Twitter in response: “The choice could not be clearer: Boris Johnson’s Conservatives protecting the privileged few or a Labour government on the side of the many.”

Labour has been urged by anti-racism campaigners to bar an MP suspended over anti-Semitism allegations from standing for the party in the general election. Arj reports the party’s national executive committee (NEC) was told that Chris Williamson’s “history of engaging with anti-Semites and dismissing concerns about anti-Semitism” runs “counter to the values” of Labour.

Tory ministers have come under fire for spending government cash on Facebook ads targeted at voters in election swing seats . Rachel learned that ministers authorised more than 20 adverts, paid for with taxpayers’ cash, to go live on Tuesday, the same day Boris Johnson got MPs to back a snap general election.

What I’m Reading

I can’t in all conscience vote for any of them | Phillip Collins

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