Nigel Farage backtracks on comments calling for Boris Johnson to drop his Brexit deal

PUBLISHED: 12:22 07 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:22 07 November 2019

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage on the election trail. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage on the election trail. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

Nigel Farage has watered down his demands for Boris Johnson to scrap his Brexit deal in return for an electoral pact.

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Farage has now said changes must be made to the government's political declaration for his party to back the deal.

He said his party will stand at least 600 candidates in the general election unless the prime minister removes the allowance for the Brexit transition period to last until 2022.

Farage has faced pressure to stand down Brexit Party candidates in hundreds of seats to give Johnson and the Tories a better chance of securing a majority in parliament.

He originally vowed to contest all 650 seats in the forthcoming election unless Johnson scrapped the Withdrawal Agreement when he launched his campaign last week.

Now he has rowed back on his comments in an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Boris Johnson is offering something that is not Brexit and does not get Brexit done.

MORE: 'I've been called worse': Farage reacts to The New European's 'secret weapon' front

He told the BBC he wanted to see changes to the political declaration agreed with the EU.

"Boris Johnson needs to make it clear that he will fundamentally change the political declaration in two ways," he said.

"Firstly that he will get rid of an extension that will allow it to go on until at least 2022. We need to have the clause in the political declaration removed so we have a hard deadline.

"The second point is that we simply cannot, absolutely cannot, bind ourselves to a trade deal that gives us regulatory alignment that would prevent us from doing trade deals with the rest of the world and would mean we are not making our own laws."

Farage added that his party also needed to see any promises on regulatory alignment removed so Britain was not "prevented from doing trade deals and making our own laws".

Pushed on Brexit Party candidates pulling out to back Conservatives, Farage said it is usual for candidates to withdraw at the last minute due to the "huge amount of pressure".

Farage added: "I've never fought an election at which at the last minute candidates didn't pull out because they realise firstly the full responsibility of doing it and secondly they are coming under a huge amount of pressure.

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