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Farage: Johnson must change course on Brexit

The Brexit Party leader denied there was any intention to split the Conservative Party vote.

Nigel Farage (Jacob King/PA)
Nigel Farage (Jacob King/PA)

By Josh Payne, PA

Nigel Farage has urged Boris Johnson to “change course” after the Prime Minister dismissed the idea of a pact with the Brexit Party leader.

Mr Farage, who donned a pair of boxing gloves and pretended to punch cameras on a visit to Bolsover Boxing Club in Derbyshire, said he and his party would “stand for Brexit if (Boris Johnson) doesn’t really want to”.

On Tuesday, he told the PA news agency he decided not to stand in the General Election so he could “traverse the length and breadth of the country” to help potential candidates get elected.

He said his candidates are the “only people offering Brexit” and denied there was any intention to split the Conservative Party vote.

Asked what the Brexit Party’s realistic aims are for the December 12 election, Mr Farage told PA: “To offer people a choice. They deserve to vote for a candidate who says we should leave the European Union, leave its institutions and not be trapped for years and years to come.

“Those who want a clean-break Brexit, and that’s what 17.4 million people said, the vote to leave was to leave the EU, not to stay trapped to it.”

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Nigel Farage climbs into the ring at Bolsover Boxing Club (Jacob King/PA)

Asked if the party would stand in the proposed 600 seats now the Prime Minister has said a pact is off the table, Mr Farage said: “Look, perhaps he doesn’t want a pact because he wants to continue with his EU treaty.

“He wants us to be half in, half out, and go straight into three more years of expensive negotiations where we are tied in every way.

“I would urge the Prime Minister to change course. He did what he could in a very difficult situation he inherited.

“It’s a very Remain Parliament, the General Election is a chance to press the reset button. At the moment he has chosen not to. If that’s the case, I will stand for Brexit if he doesn’t really want to.”

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Nigel Farage at Bolsover Boxing Club (Jacob King/PA)

Asked if he was concerned he could become the reason Brexit is prevented, Mr Farage told PA: “Well, number one, as things stand, we are the only people offering Brexit because Boris’s deal is not Brexit.

“Secondly, it is completely misunderstood… that when I last did this in 2015, and led Ukip, I was asked the same question.

“‘Oh you’ll split the Tory vote’. No. It was the Labour vote we hurt and if you look at my schedule this week and where I’m going, I think the five million Labour leavers are the most likely people to vote for the Brexit Party – that is our key target audience.

“So our effect overall on the election is probably quite neutral, because a lot of Labour people are going to vote for us.”

Commenting on the number of seats the Brexit Party would gain from Labour, Mr Farage said: “My aspiration is we get a number. A good number of Brexit Party MPs in the House of Commons making sure that Brexit is held on track and the next government is called out.

“That’s why I’ve decided not to stand myself. I want to traverse the length and breadth of this country. This is just the start.

“I think my presence, coming round and helping these candidates, I just hope it gets more of them over the line.”

PA

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