Farage confirms Brexit party will stand in all Labour-held seats
George Parker, the FT’s political editor, reports:
Nigel Farage on Thursday confirmed his Brexit party would officially contest Labour held seats at next month’s election, in spite of huge pressure on him to pull out of Tory target seats.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s deadline for candidate nominations, Mr Farage said: “I said on Monday we would be fighting 300 seats and that’s exactly what we are going to do.”
Mr Farage was being urged by senior Brexiters, Eurosceptic Tories and pro-Brexit newspapers to give Boris Johnson a clear run against Labour in key marginals, to avoid the risk of splitting the Leave vote.
The closure of nominations will reveal how many – if any – Brexit party candidates have pulled out of the December 12 contest on their own volition, in defiance of the party leader.
The Brexit party leader told the BBC’s Today programme that Mr Johnson wanted “a Conservative government, not a Brexit government” and that he did not trust the prime minister.
On Monday, Mr Farage pulled his candidates out of over 300 seats won by the Conservatives at the last election, but his refusal to withdraw from Labour territory will dismay some Brexiters.
Arron Banks, who has bankrolled the Brexit cause over many years, wanted the Brexit party to contest only 40 seats where it stood the best chance of winning its first parliamentary seat.
Mr Farage said that Mr Banks, a former Ukip backer and a self-styled “bad boy of Brexit” had “given up”. He said his old friend was suffering from “Brexhaustion”.
Mr Banks has claimed that Mr Farage’s position could put Brexit at risk, because pro-EU parties could win the election and bring forward a second referendum.