The big Brexit question right now, is whether or not Nigel Farage is preparing to ditch even more Brexit Party candidates.
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After dropping out of contesting the 317 seats won by the Tories in the last general election, The Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage, is coming under increasing pressure to pull his candidates out of even more constituencies.
The Independent reports that:
“Nigel Farage is facing calls not to field Brexit Party candidates in Labour marginals in the north and Midlands after he abandoned plans to contest the 317 seats held by the Tories at the last election.”
And the Leave Alliance blog points to another 59 seats that should be relinquished by The Brexit Party and it says:
“Please Mr Farage, to maximise the chances of the best possible Brexit, could the Tories have a straight run at these too?”
But Brexit Party MEP Richard Tice told Sky News that “We’re frankly more likely to reverse the decision than we are to grant another bunch of seats.”
But at the moment some Brexit Party candidates are being quickly reshuffled out of Tory seats and into Labour held constituencies.
So Farage has called on the Tories to reciprocate in kind to his withdrawal, but it seems the Tories are not for turning on this one – they will stand in every seat.
And the Brexit Party leader told BBC News:
“I made a big, generous offer to the Conservative Party yesterday. I gifted them a couple of dozen seats.”
And he added:
“I would have expected, having put country before party, to perhaps have got something back from the Conservatives.
“But no, nothing is good enough for them.”
As well as saying:
“It is clear to me, it is not a Leave majority they want in Parliament, it is just a Tory one.”
Gotta say, does that really come as a surprise? Really?
And although he and Tice are playing it tough right now, I believe there may be more disappointments for Brexit Party candidates on the way, with only those fighting total lost causes in safe Labour seats being allowed to participate in democracy.
Nigel Farage said yesterday, that avoiding a damaging second EU referendum was his top priority.
So, all that Team Boris has to do now, is wait until Farage pulls his team out of all Tory vs Labour marginals to maximise the chances of Tory wins in those seats.
I hope I’m wrong in this, but there is a possibility that we could quickly end up with a rump Brexit Party standing as token candidates in as few as 40 or 50 seats where the Tories have absolutely no hope of winning.
But they will still be facing a Tory candidate as perception and vote share are extremely important to the Conservatives.
But there has already been fall-out.
One disaffected Brexit Party Candidate, who was lined up to contest the Arundel and South Downs seat, Robert Wheal, is quoted in the New European as calling the decision a ‘disgrace to politics’ when speaking on LBC and also saying:
“It’s putting Nigel before the country. He will go down in infamy, letting down so many good people with whom he sought their trust. He is finished as a politician.
“All that Farage has exposed is his duplicity to so many supporters who had put their faith in him.”
And former Brexit Party candidate Neil Greaves told the PA news agency that:
“Nigel has let Brexiteers down … he should be standing up for the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit. I don’t regard Boris Johnson’s deal as Brexit. It’s not even close.
“Farage has been totally outmanoeuvred and out-negotiated without Boris even having to say anything.”