A former UKIP ally of Nigel Farage has claimed that Boris Johnson has knocked the momentum out of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party – and he will not fight a general election if one is called.
Patrick O’Flynn, former director of UKIP’s communications under Nigel Farage, has said that he does not believe Nigel Farage would fight an election that he did not truly believe his party could win.
O’Flynn points to the success of UKIP under his leadership, the EU referendum result, and the European election results as challenges that Farage relished.
But when it comes to a general election up against a Tory party pledging to deliver Brexit “do or die” this autumn, he believes Farage will be less certain and that his party could get just 5% of the support.
Writing for the Sunday Express, he said: “Following his brilliant victory in the European elections, Nigel will utterly hate the idea of leading a campaign doomed to flop in a general election.
“Among his many talents, he is a brilliant reader of the political weather. And he is a captain who tends to come out on to the bridge only when the wind is in his sails. We have seen this several times before.”
He said that he believed, rather than standing down as leader like he did previously in UKIP, he would pull the party from the race for the Brexit cause.
O’Flynn continued: “He will know that in a general election, Leave voters will flock to whichever pro-Brexit candidate seems likely to win a particular seat. In the vast majority of cases that will be a Conservative candidate.
“So, as long as Boris – the man who led the victorious Vote Leave campaign – holds to a true Brexit course, the Brexit Party is bound to be squeezed very hard indeed.”
Shortly after the European elections the Brexit Party lost out to Labour at the Peterborough by-election – despite the area voting to Leave in the EU referendum.
In the area of Brecon and Radnorshire, which also narrowly voted to Leave, the Liberal Democrats topped the poll.
The Brexit Party came a distant third with just 10% of the vote, way behind the Tories on 39% of the vote.