Sunday 17 November 2019

Angry Tories warn Farage 'puts Brexit at risk' with poll strategy

Nigel Farage has been told he should retire by the Tories. Photo: Getty
Nigel Farage has been told he should retire by the Tories. Photo: Getty

Gavin Cordon

Nigel Farage has been slated by furious Tories for putting Brexit at risk with his plans to run candidates in more than 600 constituencies in the UK poll on December 12.

Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg warned the Brexit Party leader was in danger of snatching "defeat from the jaws of victory" if he persisted with his plan.

However, Mr Farage - who was previously the leader of Ukip - said that his "number one target" would be Labour Leave voters who had been "completely betrayed" by their party.

"I led Ukip into the 2015 general election. I had all the same stuff, all the same arguments. The Tory tribe screaming and shouting, 'Don't take our votes'," he told ITV's 'Good Morning Britain'.

"The Ukip vote took more votes from Labour than it did from the Conservatives, (David) Cameron wouldn't have even got a majority without Ukip.

"We are going to hurt the Labour Party in the most extraordinary way. We'll do it in south Wales, we'll do it in the Midlands, we'll do it in the north of England.

"Those Labour voters have been completely betrayed by the Labour Party. They are my number one target. I got those votes in 2015, I'll do it again."

Boris Johnson last week rejected Mr Farage's offer of a pact with the Tories if he dropped his Brexit deal.

Mr Farage, who even won support from US President Donald Trump for his proposal of an alliance, argued that the prime minister's agreement with Brussels did not represent a true break with the European Union.

However, Mr Rees-Mogg insisted that the deal was a "complete Brexit" and that Mr Farage should recognise the time had come to "retire from the field".

"I think he would be well-advised to recognise that that battle he won. He should be really proud of his political career," Mr Rees-Mogg told LBC radio.

"It would be a great shame if he carries on fighting after he has already won to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

"I understand why Nigel Farage would want to carry on campaigning because he has been campaigning for the best part of 30 years."

Mr Farage also came under fire from Steve Baker, the leader of the pro-Brexit Tory European Research Group.

Mr Baker warned that Mr Farage risked another hung parliament through "dogmatically pursuing purity".

"That's the irony of Nigel Farage. He risks being the man who hands Boris a weak and indecisive parliament, and bringing about, therefore, his own worst fears," Mr Baker told 'The Daily Telegraph'.

Mr Farage defended his decision not to stand himself.

"I did have a serious go in 2015. I finished up spending way too much of my time in that constituency and not out around the country.

"I'm not making that mistake again," he said.

Irish Independent

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