POLITICS
04/11/2019 16:16 GMT

Nigel Farage Declares War On Boris Johnson's 'Remainer's Brexit'

Brexit Party leader rejects cabinet ministers' calls to back out of the general election, accusing the Tories of "conceited arrogance".

Nigel Farage has rejected Tory pleas to back out of the election, insisting he would stand a full slate of Brexit Party candidates if Boris Johnson does not drop his “Remainer’s Brexit” deal.

The Brexit Party leader accused senior Tories, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, of “conceited arrogance” for suggesting he was putting Brexit at risk by splitting the Leave vote.

Rees-Mogg was one of three senior Tories, including cabinet colleague Therese Coffey and Brexiteer European Research Group (ERG) chair Steve Baker, to urge Farage to pull his party out of the election.

But Farage, who is not standing himself but introduced hundreds of election candidates at an event in Westminster, said it would be “ludicrous” to back down.

The Brexit Party leader has offered to form a Leave alliance with the Tories as long as the prime minister drops his EU withdrawal agreement.

But Farage suggested he has now given up hope of a deal with Johnson.

“I have to take the attitude that I’ve tried like crazy over week after week to put together a Leave alliance that will win a huge majority, all I get it abuse back,” he told reporters. “So in the end you begin to think what’s the point.”

But he rejected suggestions that the Brexit Party could pull out of the election amid sliding poll numbers.

“Did you see all those people in the room, they are not standing down are they?” he said.

“Of course not.

“I mean, if that’s what comes to pass, you’ve then got four real choices - revoke, second referendum, effectively Remainer’s Brexit or clean break Brexit.

“And that is four very clear choices and and the British public can make their minds up on that.”

PA Wire/PA Images
Farage introducing hundreds of Brexit Party election candidates at an event in Westminster

Asked to guarantee the Brexit Party would stand a full slate of candidates, Farage replied: “Of course, that’s why we’re here today. 

“I mean, these people are actually here today to actually sign the nomination papers.”

It came after Rees-Mogg said Farage was in danger of snatching “defeat from the jaws of victory” if he persisted with his plan.

Rees-Mogg insisted the deal was a “complete Brexit” and that Farage should recognise the time had come to “retire from the field”.

“I think he would be well-advised to recognise that that battle he won. He should be really proud of his political career,” he told LBC radio.

“It would be a great shame if he carries on fighting after he has already won to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

“I understand why Nigel Farage would want to carry on campaigning because he has been campaigning for the best part of 30 years and it must be hard to retire from the field. But that is what he ought to do.”

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Work and Pensions Secretary Coffey echoed the message, telling BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: “The Conservative party is the party that will get Brexit done.

“I cannot understand how Nigel Farage puts at risk... being the person who lets Brexit evaporate.

“Only the Conservative party, in this election, of the parties that have the chance of being in government, are the only party that is going to respect the referendum of 2016.”

Farage also came under fire from Baker, who warned he risked another hung parliament through “dogmatically pursuing purity”.

“That’s the irony of Nigel Farage. He risks being the man who hands Boris a weak and indecisive parliament, and bringing about, therefore, his own worst fears,” Baker told The Daily Telegraph.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt mocked Farage for deciding not to stand as a candidate himself

“Quite ironical that European affairs are more important to Nigel Farage than the politics of Great Britain,” he tweeted.

“A pity, his departure would have been an enormous saving of European taxpayer’s money.”