Nigel Farage will only agree to ‘Leave alliance’ if Boris Johnson drops Brexit deal
- Credit: PA
Nigel Farage has called for a 'Brexit alliance' with the Conservatives - which would require Boris Johnson to drop his Brexit deal.
The Brexit Party leader - who has been tight-lipped about his strategy despite mounting speculation - used his campaign launch to call for a pact with the Conservatives.
It comes after US president Donald Trump appeared to call for an electoral pact between Farage and Boris Johnson, saying the pair could become an "unstoppable force".
Farage said an option would be a "non-aggression pact" with Johnson, describing it as a "one-off opportunity".
He would not say whether or not he is standing in the election, saying that would become clear in the coming days.
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But he said the campaign launch is about the party making clear it is "very, very prepared to compromise", and that the only way to get Brexit done is to "form a Leave alliance" and win the election with a "big stonking majority".
He said that the Brexit Party will contest every seat if Johnson does not agree to the "Leave alliance".
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Farage explained that he had enough money for a "fully funded" election campaign, but that he was flexible to "local exceptions".
"Of course I'm open and flexible to local exceptions and already we are in communication with a number of MPs who are prepared to renounce the Withdrawal Agreement, to renounce the deal, and they themselves to stand on a ticket of a genuine free trade agreement or leave on WTO terms.
"And of course in those cases where MPs say this, we will view them as our friends and not as our enemies.
"And more interestingly, already we are being approached to put together informal arrangements on the ground - constituencies in which they may have a better chance of winning and we won't bother to campaign, but equally constituencies in which we have got a better chance of winning and they won't campaign and that is already beginning to come together.
"But that is not the real deal. The real deal is a Leave alliance that wins a big majority in parliament. The real deal is a Leave alliance that delivers a genuine Brexit."
Farage is hoping he may try to persuade staunch Tory Brexiteers to do a u-turn on their support for Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement and could then leave those Tory candidates to run in their constituency without opposition from the Brexit Party.
When asked if he would consider no longer supporting the Brexit deal to avoid a challenge from the Brexit Party, Eurosceptic Mark Francois told PA: "No. I voted for Boris's deal and I'm sticking with it because it takes us out of the EU."
Steve Baker, chairman of the European Research Group of Tory Brexiteers, said he was "at a loss" to know what Farage wants to achieve, adding: "I am no more willing to be bullied by Nigel Farage than anyone else into acting against my best understanding of the national interest."
Baker said: "The reason every Conservative Eurosceptic MP backed the deal is that it can deliver a Brexit worth having.
"But Boris will only negotiate a great future for the UK if he has a good majority of resolute Conservative MPs. Nigel now risks that and our future.
"It is completely inconceivable that the Conservative Party would now go for no-deal and a pact.
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