Belfast Telegraph

Boris Johnson rejects Farage's call for election pact to beat Remainers' threat

Boris Johnson speaking to media on board his plane to the US
Boris Johnson speaking to media on board his plane to the US
Boris Johnson meets New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the United Nations HQ in New York yesterday

By Sam Blewett

Boris Johnson has rubbished the idea of an election pact with Nigel Farage's Brexit Party and pledged to field Conservative candidates in every seat in the country.

Mr Farage has been calling on the Prime Minister to form a Brexit alliance in order to beat a threat from Remain voters in the polls.

But, speaking to reporters on his flight to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, Mr Johnson ruled out working with the Brexit Party if opposition MPs grant him an early election. "We will be contesting the next election when the Labour Party - the opposition - finally summon up the nerve to have an election," the Tory leader said.

"We will be contesting the next election as the Conservative party and not in an alliance, or a pact or a coupon, a receipt."

Pressed on whether the Tories would field candidates in every seat, the PM replied: "Of course."

Mr Farage believes a pact could ward off the threat from a "Remain alliance" of opposition parties who oppose Brexit and could depose the Tories. His party has offered to not field candidates to oppose hardline Brexit Tories who voted against Theresa May's withdrawal agreement all three times and who support no-deal.

Mr Johnson has not ruled out resigning if the Supreme Court decides he misled the Queen when he prorogued Parliament.

He is awaiting the ruling from the UK's highest court on whether his request to send MPs away until October 14 as the Brexit deadline beckons was unlawful and will still be in the US when that ruling comes today.

The PM was questioned by reporters on the RAF Voyager as he headed to the States over whether he would resign if the government lost the case in the London court.

"I will wait and see what the justices decide, the Supreme Court decides, because as I've said before I believe that the reasons for... wanting a Queen's speech were very good indeed," he said.

Parliament may have to reconvene if the PM is defeated in the court, depending on the legal basis upon which the judges make their conclusions.

Asked whether he would rule out proroguing Parliament again before the current October 31 Brexit deadline, he replied: "I'm saying that Parliament will have bags of time to scrutinise the deal that I hope we will be able to do."

Eleven justices have been asked to determine whether his advice to the Queen to prorogue Parliament, for what opponents describe as an "exceptionally long" period, was unlawful.

The Prime Minister advised the Queen on August 28 to prorogue Parliament for five weeks and it was suspended on September 9 until October 14.

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