Calls for Farage to stand down as party may cost Tory seats & stop Brexit
NIGEL Farage is facing mounting pressure to stand down his candidates ahead of next month’s General Election.
The Brexit Party supremo has been hit with a warning shot that Britain could end up with a “shabby coalition of socialists, Lib Dems, Scottish and Welsh nationalists” if he contests seats the Tories are vying for.
It comes just a day after yet another of his candidates quit with a parting shot – saying it is “fundamentally wrong” to stand in constituencies where the Tories have a chance of winning.
Peter Udale, the party’s nominee in the Cotswolds, urged voters to back the Conservatives instead.
He is the latest Brexit Party candidate to announce he is standing down.
Mr Udale, a Cambridge University graduate, told the Daily Telegraph: “I believe that by far the biggest threat that currently faces this country is a government led by Jeremy Corbyn.”
A string of Mr Farage’s candidates are leading calls for him to pull back.
And former Brexit Party hopeful in the battleground seat of Workington, Philip Walling, has begged colleagues to copy his decision to withdraw.
Mr Walling writes in the Daily Mail: “I plead with every other Brexit candidate to do what I have done: examine your conscience in the cold light of reason.
“And if you think you risk splitting the Tory vote, and so damaging the best chance of Brexit that Britain has got, then for God’s sake – stand down.”
Mr Farage has insisted his party will field at least 600 candidates in the General Election unless Boris Johnson scraps his Brexit deal.
His strategy has led to 20 of his party’s candidates dropping out in recent weeks.
On Wednesday Calum Walker, who had been the candidate in Dundee East, quit saying “we should all back Boris”.
Mr Walker joined Stephen Peddie, who quit his Tonbridge & Malling candidacy in “exasperation”, saying: “Farage cynically parrots the phrase ‘country before party’. I believe it.”
A growing number of Mr Farage’s associates and donors – including his ally Arron Banks – have also launched a revolt against his refusal to call an election truce with the Tories.
A major YouGov poll of 11,500 voters shows the Brexit Party presents a serious threat to Mr Johnson’s hopes.
The Brexit Party is polling as high as 19 per cent in some regions and analysis found it could make a crucial difference in almost 90 Tory target seats.
Nigel Evans, the Tory candidate for Ribble Valley in Lancashire, said: “The danger in the North West and North East will be where a Brexit candidate steals sufficient votes to allow the Remain candidate to win.
The danger in the North West and North East will be where a Brexit candidate steals sufficient votes to allow the Remain candidate to win
Tory candidate Nigel Evans
“A number of Brexit candidates have already decided they know the strategy is not working, they know the dangers, and they don’t want to lose Brexit.
“Yet that is exactly what Nigel Farage’s strategy could do.”
Mr Udale continued: “If he (Farage) got into No10. he would undermine our economy, our defence and our union.
“I therefore believe it is fundamentally wrong for the Brexit Party, which is strongly patriotic and has a deep allegiance to our union, to stand candidates in constituencies where the Tories have a chance of winning.”
The Gloucestershire businessman added: “I continue to support the Brexit Party in strong Labour constituencies where Leavers are unlikely to swing behind the Tories in large numbers.”
Multi-millionaire Arron Banks, who campaigned with Mr Farage under the Leave.EU banner during the 2016 referendum, said: “Like everything in life, what is the point of doing something if you can’t win?
“He risks splitting the vote and letting a Lib Dem through the middle to win – a party which wants to cancel Brexit altogether.”
Mr Farage has also urged Boris Johnson to drop his deal and form an alliance with is party, something the PM has ruled out.
US President Donald Trump, a friend of Mr Farage, has urged the two politicians to form an electoral pact, saying last week that Farage and Johnson together would be “an unstoppable force.”
Mr Farage insisted his party was “the only one offering Brexit” and denied that he was making a Labour victory more likely.
He vowed to “hurt Labour in the most extraordinary way” by personally taking the fight to Jeremy Corbyn in the party’s most “vulnerable” seats.
Pushed on Brexit Party candidates pulling out to back Conservatives, Mr Farage said it is usual for candidates to withdraw at the last minute due to the “huge amount of pressure”.
Mr 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.”