Brexit Party won't contest 317 seats Tories won at the last election

11 November 2019, 12:17

Nigel Farage made the announcement in Hartlepool
Nigel Farage made the announcement in Hartlepool. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has announced he does not plan to contest seats won by the Conservative Party in the last General Election.

Mr Farage said he would be focusing the Brexit Party's efforts on Labour-held seats.

"I will tell you now exactly what we are going to do," he told supporters in Hartlepool.

"The Brexit Party will not contest the 317 seats the Conservatives won at the last election.

"But what we will do is concentrate our total effort into all the seats that are held by the Labour Party, who have completely broken their manifesto pledge in 2017 to respect the result of the referendum.

"And we will also take on the rest of the Remainer parties. We will stand up and we will fight them all."

Boris Johnson has said the Conservative Party welcomes Nigel Farage's "recognition that another gridlocked hung Parliament is the greatest threat to getting Brexit done".

"If we have another hung Parliament it would lead to two more chaotic referendums next year," he wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

"The Conservatives only need 9 more seats to win a majority and leave by the end of January with a deal.

"We can then finally move on as a country, and focus on the priorities that matter to you and your family."

Mr Johnson said he had "absolutely not" called Mr Farage to agree a deal.

He told broadcasters: "I'm glad that there's a recognition that there's only one way to get Brexit done and that's to vote for the Conservatives."

Responding to Mr Farage's decision, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson tweeted: "The Conservative Party are the Brexit Party now."

Naomi Smith, the chief executive of pro-EU campaign group Best for Britain, accused Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage of having "bottled it" and intensified calls for Remainers to vote tactically.

"Farage has bottled it and hung most of his own candidates out to dry," she said.

"But by standing down Brexit Party candidates across the country, it's now more important than ever that Remainers use their votes wisely.

"Our best chance of stopping a nightmarish government delivering a hard and damaging Brexit is voting tactically."

Supporters in the room backed Nigel Farage's announcement, calling him a "good strategist".

Brexit Party supporter Rachel Swann, 48, from Redcar, said: "It would be great to see him contesting every seat but this is logical, a lot of people are concerned we are splitting the Leave vote.

"He is a good strategist, it's one I can live with."