Could Nigel Farage still cost Boris Johnson victory at the general election? The Brexit Party will still stand in dozens of seats and could hand them to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour by splitting the Brexiteer vote
- The move announced by Mr Farage could help secure the Tory base vote
- But it could also split the vote in seats where they finished a close second in 2017
- There is speculation the Brexit Party could now focus on as few as 40 seats
Nigel Farage’s decision to give the Tories a free run only in seats they already hold could still damage Boris Johnson’s chances of winning target seats help by opponents.
The Brexit Party leader announced he will still run candidates in constituencies held by Labour and Remainer parties in a climb-down this morning.
There is speculation the Brexit Party could now focus resources on perhaps as few as 40 Leave-leaning Labour constituencies.
But the move, while helping secure the Tory base vote, may hamper the Tories in seats where they finished a close second in 2017.
The Brexit Party leader announced he will still run candidates in constituencies held by Labour and Remainer parties in a climb-down this morning (pictured)
But the move, while helping secure the Tory base vote, may hamper Boris Johnson’s (pictured today) Tories in seats where they finished a close second in 2017
There are eight Labour-held seats where they lead by less than one per cent of votes from the Conservatives and 15 where they lead by two per cent or less.
Ranging from Kensington and Canterbury in the south to Barrow-in-Furness and Keightley in the north, a split in the vote between the Tories and the Brexit Party could see them remain in the hands of Jeremy Corbyn rather than helping Boris Johnson get a Commons majority.
The nascent party has already arguably cost the Conservatives two seats this year after they ran in by-elections.
In the Peterborough by-election in June the Brexit Party was the difference between victory and failure.
The seat was taken by Labour’s Lisa Forbes (10,482) with a majority of 683 from the Brexit Party’s Mike Green (9,801), with the Tories in third. But a clear run for the Conservatives’ Paul Bristow (7,243) would have seen him take the seat.
And in August in Brecon and Radnorshire the Tory Chris Davies (12,401) was forced into second place, 1,425 behind the Lib Dems’ Jane Dodds (13,826), after the Brexit Party’s Des Parkinson took 3,331 eurosceptic votes.
In the Peterborough by-election the Brexit Party was the difference between victory and failure. Labour’s Lisa Forbes (pictured) won by 683 from the Brexit Party’s Mike Green
A clear run for the Conservatives’ Paul Bristow (right) in Peterborough would have seen him take the seat, with Chris Davies (left) also missing out in Brecon and Radnorshire
Mr Davies was forced into second place, 1,425 behind the Lib Dems’ Jane Dodds (centre, with Ed Davey) , but the Brexit Party will not run in the Welsh seat because it was Tory in 2017
Mr Farage today claimed that Boris Johnson tried to bribe him with a peerage before his climb-down over the general election.
The Brexit Party leader said he was offered a seat in the House of Lords last Friday, branding the offer ‘ridiculous’.
It came as Mr Farage partially bowed to massive pressure by declaring that the Brexit Party will not fight any Tory-held seats.
Mr Farage made the dramatic announcement that he was ‘putting country before party’ and would focus on fighting Labour-held constituencies. But despite the retreat – with 317 Conservative candidates now set to get a free run on December 12 – there is still a real danger that the Brexit Party could prevent Mr Johnson getting an overall majority.
Mr Farage told the Daily Mirror he wanted ‘nothing’ from the Government ‘and I have asked for nothing’.
Pressed on an offer of a peerage in return for not standing against the Conservatives he added: ‘I was offered one last Friday.
‘Ridiculous – the thought they can buy me, a high-paid job; but I’m not interested, I don’t want to know.’
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