Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has said he is open to an electoral pact with Boris Johnson – but only if he is serious about his commitment to the October 31 deadline for leaving the European Union.
New Tory leader Mr Johnson has ruled out a deal with Mr Farage and stressed he does not want an early election.
But Mr Farage said an election would be required to ensure Brexit can be delivered on time and if his party and the Tories agreed an alliance they could “smash” the Labour Party.
He said Mr Johnson should realise he will need an election to get Brexit through the Commons.
Mr Farage said: “He is going to have to risk his longed-for position as PM to ensure Brexit is enacted properly.
“There is no prospect of a meaningful Brexit thanks to the views of most sitting MPs. And any attempt to prorogue Parliament will lead to the PM being brought down by his own side.
“The inescapable truth, therefore, is that he must hold an autumn general election. That is his only way out.”
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Farage said the move would split the Tories, so “for this strategy to work, he will need the support of the Brexit Party”.
Mr Farage has suggested his party would be better placed than the Tories to win Leave-supporting northern English seats from Labour.
But he said Mr Johnson “will have a lot of convincing to do to persuade us that an early election will lead to a clean-break Brexit” on October 31.
“If he is able to convince us, then together we would electorally smash the Labour Party, he would assume a big working majority, and he would go down as one of the great leaders in British history.”
The prospect of a pact attracted high-profile support from Donald Trump, who was joined by Mr Farage at a rally of US young conservatives on Tuesday.
The US president suggested the Brexit Party leader would “work well with Boris” to do “some tremendous things”.
But an ally of Mr Johnson, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, played down fresh suggestions of a pact.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There is no way that we are going to have any kind of electoral pact with the Brexit Party and with Nigel Farage.”