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Sajid Javid refuses to rule out Brexit Party pact

But the Chancellor insisted the Tories do not need electoral alliances.

Sajid Javid arrives at the BBC Broadcasting House in London (Yui Mok/PA)
Sajid Javid arrives at the BBC Broadcasting House in London (Yui Mok/PA)

By Jess Glass, PA

Sajid Javid has refused to rule out a pact with the Brexit Party in a general election, but insisted the Conservative Party does not “need” electoral alliances.

Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show following the announcement of Amber Rudd’s resignation on Saturday evening, the Chancellor was asked whether he would feel comfortable working with Nigel Farage after striking an election deal.

Mr Javid said he supported holding a general election despite “sad” timing, saying: “We absolutely now need an election. It is being forced on us because Parliament is trying to kneecap these negotiations.”

We don’t need an electoral alliance with anyone. We can stand on our own two feet, put our message across Sajid Javid

He was then asked five times to publicly rule out a pact with the Brexit Party, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson is believed to have privately ruled out.

Mr Javid said: “We don’t need an electoral alliance with anyone. We can stand on our own two feet, put our message across.

“The picture our opponents are painting of us, of course they would paint a false picture. We are a proud centre-right, moderate, one-nation party.

“There is nothing extremist about wanting to meet the will of the British people on a simple question which was ‘Do you want to leave the EU or not?’

“We are not in an election yet. I am clear we do not need an alliance with anyone.”

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Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has expressed a desire to work with the Conservatives during the next election (Joe Giddens/PA)

Mr Farage has publicly offered a non-aggression pact between the two parties, citing the Conservatives’ substantial losses in the 2019 European Parliament elections.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the Brexit Party leader said the offer was “100% sincere” and would help return Mr Johnson to Downing Street.

He wrote: “Johnson should cast his mind back to the European elections in May, in which his party came fifth, and ask himself: does he want the Tories to find themselves in a similarly disastrous position when the results of the next general election come in, or does he want to sign a non-aggression pact with me and return to Downing Street?”

Mr Javid’s refusal to preclude a pact has been criticised by the opposition.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Tricket said: “The Tories are refusing to rule out a grubby deal with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party because they know he supports all their cuts to public services and the sell-off of our NHS to Donald Trump.

“Farage wants to keep Boris Johnson in power so the Tories can continue to wreck our industries and our jobs as they have always done.

“Once Johnson’s disastrous no-deal is off the table, we need a general election so we can bring an end to the rigged economy and this Tory Government for the super-rich.”

Expelled Conservative MP Sam Gyimah also criticised his former party for purging moderate MPs as an election strategy to avoid a Brexit Party pact.

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Sam Gyimah was one of 21 MPs to have the whip removed over concerns about a no-deal Brexit one (Victoria Jones/PA)

Speaking to John Pienaar on Radio Five Live, he said: “What tipped Conservative MPs over the edge this week was the realisation that the Government was playing games to run down the clock and deliver a no-deal Brexit for which it has no mandate, and that is scandalous.

“I know there is a serious level of disquiet about what the Government is doing, not just in terms of no-deal but an explicit attempt to purge the Conservative Party of moderate MPs because they see that as the way to steal the Brexit Party votes from underneath Nigel Farage.

“If the Conservative Party can become more like the Brexit Party, then they hope to be able to get his votes without a pact.”

PA

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