11 November 2019 | UK NEWS
Following widespread speculation on the rumour circuit in Westminster last night and this morning, and one hour after the nation came together to remember the sacrifices made in the two World Wars, Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will not stand any candidates in the 317 parliamentary constituencies that were won by the Conservative Party in the 2017 General Election. Instead, he has said his party will vigorously contest the traditional Labour heartland seats.
Making the announcement at a Brexit Party press conference in Hartlepool around midday, Mr Farage said that when he read the Prime Minister’s new deal for the first time, he had concluded that “it simply wasn’t Brexit” and that “the EU would have the upper hand” in the coming negotiations on Britain’s future relationship with the bloc, being concerned about the “regulatory and political alignment” that he feared the deal would lead to.
However, he moved on to say that “if we do field 600 candidates, there will be a hung Parliament”, adding that the party’s own private polling had indicated there was a high likelihood of Liberal Democrat gains, particularly in the south and south-west of the country. Mr Farage stated that his “very real concern” was the prospect of a second referendum in the event of a Remainer coalition in Parliament.
Noting that he had tried to “build a Leave Alliance” with the Conservative Party and “some leading Labour figures” for the past few months, but had been rebuffed, Mr Farage said he did believe in “putting country before party” and went on to add that there were two things he had heard Boris Johnson say last night that had changed his mind, prompting him to now create such an alliance “unilaterally”.
The first was the Prime Minister’s announcement that he would not extend the Transition Period beyond the end of 2020, while the second was his stated goal of negotiating a SuperCanada+ free trade deal “with no political alignment” – which Mr Farage described as “a huge change” vis à vis Theresa May’s original deal, saying it “sounds a bit more like the Brexit that we voted for” and was “a significant step in the right direction”.
Mr Farage then followed this with his key announcement: that his party would be standing down its candidates in existing Tory seats, and instead “concentrate our total effort into all of the seats that are held by the Labour Party”, although he did also say the party would target other Remainer parties’ seats as well. He added that the only way to “keep Boris to his promises” was for the Brexit Party to win achievable seats in this election, and “take the fight to Labour”, which he accused of a “complete betrayal of 5 million of their own voters”.
Although Mr Farage stated that he had come to this decision overnight, we at Wolves note that the timing of this announcement coincides with Armistice Day. Perhaps it is wholly fitting for there to be a Brexit Armistice announced on this of all days…