Nigel Farage has claimed that the Conservatives offered jobs and peerages to his Brexit Party in a bid to get him to pull candidates from marginal seats.
He said the alleged move by the Tories was “bordering on corruption”, suggesting that it came from people “who work deep inside Number 10 Downing Street”, rather than from the Prime Minister.
The Conservative Party denied the claims, saying that no jobs or peerages have been offered to the Brexit Party.
Shortly after the General Election candidate nominations deadline of 4pm passed, Mr Farage tweeted: “Even Boris Johnson’s Chief Strategic Adviser Sir Edward Lister is calling our candidates and offering them jobs if they withdraw. The system is corrupt and broken.”
Politics in this country is broken and corrupt. We need to Change Politics For Good. This is why: pic.twitter.com/kWEP5CTmYz— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) November 14, 2019
In a video posted not long afterwards, Mr Farage said that he, along with eight “senior figures” in his party, were offered peerages.
He told Channel 4 News there had been “thousands of phone calls and emails” to prospective Brexit Party candidates telling them not to stand.
“Some of them civilised phone calls, many abusive and threatening,” he said.
A Tory source said: “Nigel can’t deliver Brexit, but he could end up blocking it. His outburst is a result of this fact dawning on him.”
In his Twitter video, Mr Farage said: “We want what 17.4 million people voted for and we want to change politics for good, because I tell you, having tried the attack, they then tried something that frankly I think is bordering on corruption but it says so much about Westminster and the way things run.
“I’ve said in the past and I’ll say it again, repeatedly it’s been suggested to me that I might like to have a seat in the House of Lords, so that I can go quietly.
“And every time this gets said my answer is the same – I’m not for sale, I’m not interested, I don’t want anything.
“I just want to get Brexit delivered.
“So knowing they couldn’t buy me off, there was a concerted attempt from people who work deep inside Number 10 Downing Street, and I’m not blaming Boris for this – I don’t believe he would be part of this – but it shows you the calibre of people he’s got around him. It shows you the culture that exists in Westminster.”
He added: “They bypassed me and went to other senior figures in the Brexit Party, suggesting that eight of them could go into the House of Lords, and all they had to do was come to Nigel and convince him to stand down in a whole load more marginal seats.
“As you can imagine, I said I do not want, and I will never have, anything to do with this kind of behaviour.”
A Conservative spokesman said: “Neither the Conservative Party, nor its officials have offered Brexit Party candidates jobs or peerages. We don’t do electoral pacts – our pact is with the British people.
“The only way to get Brexit done and unleash Britain’s potential is to vote for your local Conservative candidate, otherwise the country runs the risk of another deadlocked Parliament, or even worse a Labour/SNP coalition led by Jeremy Corbyn who would subject Britain to two referendums in 2020.”
Ian Lavery, Labour Party chairman, said: “It looks like Boris Johnson is trying to stitch-up this election by offering jobs to Brexit Party candidates to get them to stand down.
“This gives a whiff of the corrupt way the establishment works. We can’t allow the Tories to run the country a minute longer. It’s time for real change.”
Mr Farage had confirmed earlier that he will not stand down any more candidates to help the Tories win a majority.
He added that, if the Conservatives “showed some reciprocity”, more Brexit Party supporters would be likely to support the Tories in the 317 seats in which Brexit Party candidates will not be sitting.
He also accused Boris Johnson’s party of only caring about getting a Conservative majority in Parliament, and not about securing a pro-Leave majority.
The Brexit Party leader said he “very much doubts” he will vote in the upcoming election, and told voters in Hull: “We are going to fight Labour in every seat in this country, be in no doubt.”
Mr Farage’s comments on Twitter came as prominent Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe revealed he will not contest Dudley North as the 4pm nominations deadline passed.
After 4pm, the Brexit Party would not have been able to replace Mr Lowe.
The former Southampton FC chairman’s decision comes on the eve of a visit to the town by Mr Farage, who had been expected to lend Mr Lowe his backing.