How much is Nigel Farage really helping Boris Johnson here?
How much is Nigel Farage really helping Boris Johnson here?
Gisela Stuart was a Labour MP for 20 years
11 November, 2019, 18:00
The move by the Brexit Party on increased the chances Boris Johnson, left at a remembrance service on Armistice Day, will remain prime minister.
"The Brexit Party will not contest the 317 seats the Conservatives won at the last election".
Labour Party chief Jeremy Corbyn has denounced the decision by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage not to challenge the Conservative Party in seats it won at the last British election.
In the latest twist in a Europe-focused election campaign in the United Kingdom, Farage said his party's considerable resources - the sources of which attracted an Electoral Commission investigation earlier this year - would be focused on Labour-held seats.
Farage said his efforts now will be to beat Labour and stop those supporting a second referendum on Brexit, a position endorsed by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and other minority parties.
Farage began the campaign last week by warning Johnson that he could snatch away a Conservative victory by fielding 600 candidates.
The main issue with why Farage has stood down from Conservatives-held seats is that he doesn't want to split the Leave vote and cause more of a fracture in achieving Brexit.
"I have genuinely tried for months to put about the idea that "country before party" at a moment like this is the right thing to do".
"So they're not exactly helping them win seats".
These "Labour Leavers" have been cast as white, mostly male, working class, rugby fans living in the faded industrial towns of the Midlands and North England, who usually support Labour, but don't like Corbyn, or his party's stance on Brexit.
Farage, a leading force behind the 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union, was under pressure from within his own party to drop plans to field candidates across Britain to avoid splitting the pro-Brexit vote.
Labour accused Farage and Johnson of cooking up an alliance that threatened to "sell out our country" and pave the way for a post-Brexit trade deal that would open the state-run health service to USA drugs firms.
Instead, the party would concentrate its efforts on seats held by the Labour party.
Sara Hobolt, a professor who specializes in polling at the London School of Economics, said: "If I was Boris Johnson, I would be pretty pleased by this".
"Our action prevents a second referendum from happening", Farage told supporters.
But the prime minister refused and Farage has now given in, noting wryly: "In a sense we now have a Leave alliance, it's just that we've done it unilaterally".
The pound may be rallying on the positive headlines yet but the devil lies in the details and I reckon the impact may not be as great as what we're seeing at the moment.
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