Farage says his party will not con­test Tory seats in at­tempt to block sec­ond ref­er­en­dum

The National - News - - NEWS WORLD - NICKY HAR­LEY Lon­don

Nigel Farage said his Brexit Party will not con­test the 317 seats won by the rul­ing Con­ser­va­tives in 2017.

The move, Mr Farage said, will avoid dam­ag­ing Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son’s at­tempt to se­cure a par­lia­men­tary ma­jor­ity and end the im­passe over leav­ing the Euro­pean Union.

Mr Farage says he wants to block the Lib­eral Democrats and pre­vent a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum on Brexit.

“The Brexit Party will not con­test the 317 seats the Con­ser­va­tives won at the last elec­tion,” he said on the cam­paign trail in Hartle­pool, north-east Eng­land. “But what we will do is con­cen­trate our to­tal ef­fort into all of the seats that are held by the Labour Party, who have com­pletely bro­ken their man­i­festo prom­ise in 2017. Our ac­tion pre­vents a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum from hap­pen­ing. We will also take on the rest of the re­mainer par­ties.”

Mr John­son wel­comed the move, call­ing it “recog­ni­tion that there’s only one way to get Brexit done, and that’s to vote for the Con­ser­va­tives”.

Leader of the op­po­si­tion, Jeremy Cor­byn, was less en­am­oured with the plan, say­ing it was in­flu­enced by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

The Labour leader tweeted

“one week ago Don­ald Trump told Nigel Farage to make a pact with Boris John­son … today, Trump got his wish.”

He called the move a “Trump al­liance” that would al­low US drug com­pa­nies to get a foothold in the UK’s Na­tional Health Ser­vice.

Oth­ers have ex­pressed doubts over the ef­fec­tive­ness of Mr Farage’s pledge.

John Cur­tice, pro­fes­sor of pol­i­tics at Strathclyd­e Univer­sity, said the move is “not of­fer­ing the Con­ser­va­tives much help” ex­cept in seats tar­geted by the Lib­eral Democrats. The gains made by the party via its pro-Re­main elec­toral pact with the Greens and Plaid Cymru – cov­er­ing about 60 seats – have been “re­versed” by the Brexit Party move, he said.

The an­nounce­ment will be a huge boost for Mr John­son be­fore the De­cem­ber 12 elec­tion.

Brexit Party leader says he will tar­get Labour Party seats be­cause they have ‘bro­ken their man­i­festo prom­ise’

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