Tories Striking Election Pacts With Brexit Party Behind Boris Johnson's Back, Farage Claims

The PM has refused any formal deal with the Brexit Party but Nigel Farage claims Leave-supporting candidates are coordinating locally.

Tory election candidates are defying Boris Johnson’s orders and striking local election deals with Brexit Party rivals in a bid to get more Leave MPs elected, its leader Nigel Farage has claimed.

Farage said he was aware of areas where either the Brexit Party or the Tories are soft-pedalling their campaigns to ensure Leave voters unite behind one candidate to claim victory.

The Brexit Party leader has unilaterally withdrawn from the 317 seats the Conservatives won in 2017.

But he has been under pressure to pull out of Tory target seats, amid fears his party could split Leave vote and allow Labour to win.

Farage has refused to pull out formally and is standing 274 candidates.

But following pressure from within his own party, he said pacts were being struck at local level.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and Peterborough candidate Mike Greene enjoy a pint in the Queen's Head pub during a walkabout in the three-way marginal seat
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and Peterborough candidate Mike Greene enjoy a pint in the Queen's Head pub during a walkabout in the three-way marginal seat
PA Wire/PA Images

Responding to a question from HuffPost UK in Peterborough, itself a three-way Labour-Tory-Brexit Party marginal, Farage said: “This is an election in which there are Remain deals being done and Brexit deals being done at local level – it is not particularly surprising.

“I am aware of some areas in which we may be trying very hard and they may not be trying very hard and in a neighbouring seat it might be the other way round. I am aware of it.

“But I can’t manage it. [...] There are conversations that are going on.”

Asked if he would follow Arron Banks and Leave.EU in issuing tactical voting advice, Farage added: “We have got a plan for the areas in which we know we are the strongest and we are actioning that.”

It comes after Farage’s claims that candidates from his party had been offered peerages and other inducements to stand aside for the Brexit Party.

Responding, a Conservative spokesperson said: “Neither the Conservative party nor its officials have offered Brexit Party candidates jobs or peerages.

“We don’t do electoral pacts – our pact is with the British people.

“The only way to get Brexit done and unleash Britain’s potential is to vote for your local Conservative candidate. Otherwise, the country runs the risk of another deadlocked parliament, or even worse a Labour/SNP coalition led by Jeremy Corbyn who would subject Britain to two referendums in 2020.”

Meanwhile Scottish MEP Louis Stedman-Bryce quit the Brexit Party, condemning it for selecting an election candidate who wrote homophobic Facebook posts.

Stedman-Bryce said he was “saddened” about his decision but his “personal values are now in direct conflict with those of the party”.

The gay businessman condemned the Brexit Party for “a betrayal of the LGBT community” after it picked a Scottish candidate who shared controversial Facebook posts.

Alluding to the selection of Victor Farrell as the Brexit Party candidate in Glenrothes, Fife, who claimed on a public Facebook post that he is “at war” with gay and lesbian people, Stedman-Bryce said those views “have no place in our society”.

Farage said of Stedman-Bryce: “He was against us fielding any candidates in Scotland at all – actively discouraged people from standing – so I don’t know what his motivations are. You will have to guess.

“I was expecting this for a couple of weeks.

“He didn’t want us to stand any candidates in Scotland – he managed to dissuade many from standing – so he has got his own agenda.”

Since the allegations about Farrell emerged, the Brexit Party has dropped its support for him – but he will still appear on the ballot paper on December 12.

A spokesman for the Brexit Party said: “The Brexit Party does not share these views. We have withdrawn our support for the candidate.”


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