Where could the Tory party stand aside for the Brexit Party? The Labour-voting heartlands where Nigel Farage might stand a better chance than the Tories
- Mr Farage insisted Boris Johnson should be the one to make the next concession
- He wants a free run for Brexit Party at Labour Leave seats in the North of England
- No 10 has refused to stand aside in seats likely to be among their own targets
Nigel Farage has demanded Boris Johnson’s Tories return the favour and stand aside in seats he believes are winnable for the Brexit Party – but where could this work?
He today demanded a quid pro quo after he agreed not to run in 317 seats the Tories won in 2017.
He insisted Boris Johnson should be the one to make the next concession, as there were a number of Leave-leaning Labour strongholds where only the Brexit Party had a chance of winning.
‘I’ve given more ground than anyone you have ever spoken to before,’ he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
But this will create a dilemma for Mr Johnson. These seats are likely to be among their own top targets – Labour areas in the north of England with a sizeable majority of Leave voters in 2016.
They could include seats like Normanton, Doncaster North and Barnsley Central, held currently by Labour big beasts Yvette Cooper, Ed Miliband and Dan Jarvis respectively.
The risk for Mr Johnson, even if he considered standing down candidates – which Downing Street says will not happen – if that the Brexit Party fails to win and hands the seats back to Labour.
Because it is a start-up just months old there is a shortage of reliable data on how it might perform in different seats.
It would be risky to use figures for Ukip in 2017 as it had a different leader then, Paul Nuttall, and a host of different issues connected with it.
Additionally most of the target seats have healthy – or what should be healthy – Labour majorities to overcome in the first place.
The tightest on our list, Dennis Skinner’s Bolsover seat in Derbyshire, has a Labour majority of 5,288. Based on 2017 figures, the Tories not running might still not give the Brexit Party victory.
Brexit Party targets could include seats like Doncaster North, held currently by former Labour leader Ed Miliband with a 14,024 majority
Other targets may include seats like Normanton and Barnsley Central, held currently by political big beasts Yvette Cooper (right) and Dan Jarvis (left) respectively
A Brexit Party candidate branded Mr Farage’s tactical decision not to contest Tory-held seats to avoid splitting the Leave vote as a ‘disgrace to politics’.
Robert Wheal was due to fight in the Arundel and South Downs constituency but was stood down as the seat is currently held by the Conservatives.
In a series of angry tweets in the wake of Mr Farage’s announcement on Monday, Mr Wheal said the Brexit Party leader was putting himself ahead of the country.
‘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.’
Mr Wheal said Leave supporters could ‘kiss goodbye’ to Brexit following the decision and vowed to spoil his ballot paper.
Speaking to LBC radio on Tuesday morning, he said: ‘My aim has always been to get out of Europe. Clean break.’
He added: ‘I’ve always been very critical of the (Brussels) regime.
‘It’s unelected, as you all know. It spends our money as it sees fit – wastes most of it.
‘It was made very clear to us all at the first Brexit Party rally that we will put country before party and that, if Farage managed to arrange a deal with Boris Johnson that he would agree to drop his rotten Withdrawal Agreement and take on a no-deal, we would all stand down and support him.
‘But what we have here is absolute codswallop.’
Brexit Party cancels London rally amid grassroots fury at Farage
The Brexit Party has cancelled a central London rally amid anger at the decision to stand down election candidates.
Leader Nigel Farage told supporters in Hartlepool on Monday he was putting ‘country before party’ and would be pulling Brexit Party candidates out of the 317 seats won by the Conservatives at the 2017 general election.
The anti-EU party has since opted to cancel its Westminster rally on Tuesday morning – despite having promoted it as recently as Saturday.
The party had been due to hold a meeting at Church House in Westminster on Tuesday but a spokesman confirmed it was ‘not happening’.
He said the party had ‘already said what we needed to say’ during Mr Farage’s speech in Hartlepool.
The decision to offer a ‘unilateral’ Leave alliance to Boris Johnson, a move that is likely to aid the Tories in Leave-voting South West seats against the pro-Europe Liberal Democrats, has been met with dismay by some candidates.
Brexit Party MEP Alexandra Phillips, who was due to stand as a candidate in the Tory seat of Southampton Itchen before Mr Farage’s announcement, has declared she will ‘not vote at all’ at the election.
‘I have been disenfranchised by my own party,’ the South East MEP tweeted.