Earlier today Mr Farage, leader of The Brexit Party, announced that he would not be fielding candidates in more than 300 Conservative seats after what he said was Boris Johnson’s “shift of position” on Brexit. Mr Farage had originally planned to run candidates in 600 seats after Mr Johnson refused his offer of a “Leave alliance” – this made the Conservative Party worry that they would lose a the amount of votes needed to gain a majority in Parliament.
However, writing in a column for The Daily Telegraph, Mr Farage has revealed how he instead plans to challenge Labour in all of their seats to ensure a hung Parliament is avoided.
He said: “I believe The Brexit Party’s general election strategy of not contesting the 317 seats won by the Conservatives in 2017 will put Britain on the best possible course for future success.
“It should also kill off the idea of a second referendum.
“Unlike many of his cheerleaders, I read the details. Johnson’s ‘deal’ was simply a new EU Treaty with an attached political declaration.
“It was not Brexit.
“The separate status for Northern Ireland troubled me. So did the binding commitment to state aid rules, preventing the UK from making its own decisions about the future of an industry like steel: fishing rights were also ill-addressed.
“For these reasons, I had intended to stand 600 candidates next month.
He continued: “Our own private research also showed that if we did put up 600 candidates, from southwest London down to south Cornwall, the effect would be some Liberal Democrat gains.
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“If the Remainer parties secured 326 seats between them in Parliament, there would be a second referendum with a choice between Remain and a form of Remain.
“This would be a false choice.
“Now, The Brexit Party will focus its energies on fighting every seat held by Labour, which has betrayed more than five million of its voters, and all the Remainer parties.
“If we can win some of these seats, our presence in Parliament will keep Boris Johnson honest and help to deliver Brexit.”
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The U-turn comes after Mr Farage had originally denounced Mr Johnson’s deal.
Tensions were furthered when it was revealed that Mr Johnson’s claim to have negotiated an entirely new deal with the EU was denounced by the EU.
Brussels effectively poured cold water on Mr Johnson’s assertion, and insisted that it never reopened the withdrawal agreement for him.
A spokesperson for the European Commission raised eyebrows, insisting that the EU had only clarified former Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, and had not in fact made any alterations.
The claim was at odds with Downing Street’s that the deal Mr Johnson hopes to get through Parliament is not the same as his predecessors.
Ms May’s deal was rejected three times by MPs.
Mr Farage cites a video of Mr Johnson promising not to extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020 as his reason for changing his mind.
However, many argued that the Brexit Party Leader and Prime Minister have made a secret pact in favour of a hard Brexit.
Both sides deny this, with Mr Farage reiterating he had been offered a peerage by the Tories as recently as last Friday but had turned it down.
Mr Farage now plans to pour all of his efforts into targeting seats held by remain parties and Labour, who accused him and Mr Johnson of entering into an “alliance with Donald Trump to sell out our country”.
Some pro-Brexit Tories are reportedly hoping Mr Farage makes more movement in the coming days, possibly as the Guardian reports, in focusing their financial resources on a small number of seats where the Conservatives have little chance of winning.
Steve Baker, a leading Tory Eurosceptic, said: “This is a welcome announcement but the reality is that until Boris has got a clear majority in parliament then Brexit is at risk and indeed the future of the country. I hope the right decisions will be taken overall to make that possible.”
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