Nigel Farage ‘offered peerage’ days before standing down Brexit Party candidates in Tory-held seats
Nigel Farage’s decision to unilaterally stand down more than half the Brexit party’s candidates has prompted fury from Brexit Party candidates and supporters
The cry of “betrayed and establishment stitch up have been tweeted directly to Farage” after he announced he would be pulling out of all 317 Conservative-held seats.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage had planned to run candidates in 600 seats after Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected its offer of a “Leave alliance” to deliver Brexit.
But Mr Farage announced on Monday that his party will now not stand in 317 seats won by the Tories in 2017 after what he described as Mr Johnson’s “shift of position” on Brexit.
Mr Farage had been under pressure not to split the pro-Brexit vote in the general election on 12 December, with some of the party’s own candidates said to have been concerned that they could hand victory to Labour, potentially leading to another EU referendum.
He said his party would instead focus on trying to take seats held by Labour, whom he accused of “betraying” its Leave-supporting voters. However much speculation has been banding bandied around about Farage’s being offered a peerage just three days before standing down Brexit Party candidates in 317 Tory-held seats.
I was offered a peerage last Friday
The party leader rejected accusations of a pact with Boris Johnson for the sudden ditching of his plan to fight for “a real Brexit” in every seat at next month’s general election.
But, asked if he was offered a peerage, he replied: “I was offered one last Friday.
Mr Farage insisted he would turn down any political honour, adding: “Ridiculous – the thought they can buy me, a high-paid job. But I’m not interested, I don’t want to know.”
Trying to explain his U-turn to supporters in Hartlepool, Mr Farage claimed the prime minister had recently signalled a “big shift of position” in his approach to Brexit.
He cited a pledge by Mr Johnson, on Sunday night, not to extend the transition period – during which the UK will abide by EU rules – beyond December 2020.
And he said he was encouraged by a recent commitment to seek a hard Brexit Canada-style deal, with significant divergence from Brussels in a post-Brexit trade deal.
That amounted to a “huge change” from the kind of trade pact that had been planned under Theresa May, Mr Farage argued.
However, in reality, Mr Johnson had simply been restating his position on both the transition and a future trade deal, which the Brexit Party leader had previously dismissed as not “a real Brexit”.
‘Serious questions should be asked about what Boris Johnson offered to Nigel Farage in exchange for this deal’
Robert Wheal, who was due to fight in the Arundel and South Downs constituency before he was stood down, wrote on Twitter: “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.”
He added: “All that Farage has exposed is his duplicity to so many supporters who had put their faith in him.”
Robert Wheal, said Farage’s argument about protecting Brexit was “absolute codswallop”. He told LBC radio: “Brexit party supporters have worked their socks off for that party and he’s dropped them like a stone at 12 o’clock yesterday.”
Claire Mowbray, who was to have taken on Theresa May in Maidenhead, tweeted: “I can’t tell you how disappointed I am.” She added: “I will be closing this Twitter account.”
The Brexit Party’s MEP for Scotland also quit as a general election candidate in protest at its decision not to field candidates in seats held by the Tories.
Louis Stedman-Bryce said he backed an agreement with the Conservatives in Scotland to help fight the SNP.
But he said he could not support the UK-wide arrangement because he does not approve of Boris Johnson’s proposed Brexit deal.
Mr Stedman-Bryce had planned to stand in the Glasgow North East constituency.
But he tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that he had decided not to stand because “I do not trust Boris Johnson to deliver the kind of Brexit I voted for. I believe that the deal he has proposed would be devastating to our country and our future prosperity”.
He said he had made the decision not to stand in the election with a “heavy heart”, adding: “Whilst I supported a localised agreement with the Tories in Scotland to help prevent the onslaught of the SNP, I cannot support standing down PPC’s across all Tory seats.”
The pretence that the Brexit Party straddles the class divide — that it stands for an imagined national community united across ideological divisions and bound together in the defence of national sovereignty and the implementation of the popular will — has evaporated.
The Brexit Party — an ephemeral expression of Nigel Farage’s overweening ambition to occupy a permanent position in the limelight — is rendered viable as a electoral vehicle only by the failure to give effect to the referendum result.
The Brexit party had been set to hold a rally in Westminster today, but this was quietly cancelled as members vent their fury at Nigel Farage over his “dodgy deal”with the Tories
The Party was further rocked after a Brexit Party MEP said this morning she would not vote in the General Election in protest.
Alexandra Phillips wrote on Twitter : “I will be one of millions of people who will not vote at all in the General Election. That breaks my heart.
“I have voted in every election since I was 18 and been involved in politics for over a decade. And I have been disenfranchised by my own party.”
Despite promoting its Westminster rally at the weekend, the Brexit Party quietly scrapped the event.
The party had been due to hold a meeting at Church House in Westminster, but a spokesman confirmed it was “not happening”.
He said the party had “already said what we needed to say”.
Farage the faker chooses his class over his ‘politics’
As Labour’s radical policy programme gains traction, and the polling gap with the Tories closes, the possibility that a bifurcated Brexit vote might aid the election of a Corbyn government has forced the contending factions of our ruling class to close ranks.
Fearing for their futures in Parliament the still substantial Remain tendency in the Tory Party at Westminster has backed Johnson’s Brexit-lite deal.
Where yesterday Farage condemned this bodge job and “would rather accept extension and election than this deal” today he says that Johnson’s claim that his free trade deal with the EU would not include regulatory alignment is a “significant change” that warrants a complete U-turn.
His suggestion that it was an overnight revelation occasioned by clear signalling from Johnson that led him to change his position rather suggests that this was a shared PR pitch. Either that or Farage the Faker has access to some seriously strong mind-altering substances.
The strategy of the Tory Party dovetails with that of their erstwhile partners in David Cameron’s austerity coalition government. The Tory tactic to make this election exclusively about Brexit is shared with the Lib Dems.
And in signing up to a so-called Remain Alliance the Greens and Plaid Cymru have fallen into a Tory trap.
In many constituencies it will not be a Remain Alliance confronting Labour but a reactionary one united in deflecting attention away from the neoliberal consensus which Jo Swinson exemplified as a minister in the Tory-Lib Dem government.
Farage remains the standard bearer for a particularly virulent strain of national chauvinism that has cloaked its reactionary class character in the language of popular sovereignty.
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