The Brexit Party will pour resources into winning seats in the north. We have to stop them from gaining a foothold in Parliament, writes Matthew McGregor.
Nigel Farage’s announcement that he won’t stand candidates against Tory MPs confirms what we suspected: the Brexit Party never intended to fight every seat at this election, and is more interested in forming a de facto pact with the Conservatives.
Farage tried to gloss over the facts: the Brexit Party hasn’t had candidates in place in many of these seats, and he faced a wave of resignations from pro-Tory candidates. It’s a humiliating retreat for a man who talked a big game but when push came to shove, he couldn’t back his big words up.
While the media will focus on his humiliation, those of us who want to stop the Brexit Party winning a single seat must stay focused. The reality is that there is now an increased threat from Nigel Farage’s party, who will now focus their resources in a smaller number of target seats, predominantly in the north. We can’t be complacent about the threat they pose: the Brexit Party fancies itself as a kingmaker in a hung Parliament. We must do all we can to stop them from getting even one MP and sneaking their divisive and dangerous politics into Parliament.
We will redouble our efforts to tell voters about Nigel Farage’s Thatcher-worshipping, private-healthcare-supporting, tax-cuts-for-the-rich politics. We will redouble our efforts to warn voters: Farage is dangerous and divisive, and we have to keep their backers out of parliament.
Farage’s statement is also a challenge for the Conservatives. Across Europe, centre-right parties have rejected the backing of populist rightwing parties. The Conservatives’ sister parties have rejected overtures from Farage’s allies in the AfD, Lega, and Front Nationale.
Instead of condemning Nigel Farage’s dangerous and divisive politics, Boris Johnson has welcomed his support. This is a worrying development and should dismay mainstream Conservative voters.
You can find out more about the Brexit Party – and how to beat them – by reading our factsheet here.