Proof Farage could knock out Tories
His Brexit Party may split vote and save Remainers in anti-EU hotspots
NIGEL Farage’s Brexit Party may save Remainers such as Ed Miliband, Yvette Cooper and Tom Watson at the election, a study shows.
The Conservatives are targeting a string of pro-Brexit seats in the Midlands and North in the hope of securing a majority at next month’s election.
But polling data suggests the Brexit Party could split the Leave vote in more than 30 Tory target seats, potentially robbing Boris Johnson of a Commons majority.
It reveals that Mr Farage’s decision to stand in 600 seats could also help a string of prominent Labour Remainers survive in heavily pro-Leave areas.
Yvette Cooper, who led efforts to get Brexit delayed earlier this year, is forecast to hold on in her West Yorkshire constituency with just 32 per cent of the vote, narrowly ahead of the Tories on 26.2 per cent, but with the Brexit Party picking up 21.7 per cent.
In Ed Miliband’s Doncaster North seat, which voted heavily to Leave, the former Labour leader is tipped to come through the middle with 36.2 per cent of the vote, while the Conservatives and Brexit Party clock up about 23 per cent of the vote each.
Tom Watson, who has led Labour calls for a second referendum on Brexit, is also expected to survive in his West Bromwich East seat, which is a Tory target.
The analysis suggest Labour’s deputy leader will get 34.5 per cent, comfortably ahead of the Conservatives on 29.8 per cent, but with the Brexit Party picking up 17.9 per cent. Steve Baker of the European Research Group of pro-Brexit Tory MPs said: ‘Nigel Farage has the power to destroy our country by letting in Jeremy Corbyn and landing us with a hung parliament where we could end up losing Brexit.’
Produced by Chris Hanretty of Royal Holloway University of London, the analysis is based on a mega-poll of 46,000 voters for Best for Britain.
The pro-EU lobbying group commissioned the poll to help Remainers organise tactical voting against the Tories.
Professor Hanretty said: ‘The Brexit Party hurts the Conservatives way more than it hurts Labour. Research suggests that 60 per cent of Brexit Party voters name their second preference as the Conservatives.
‘Nigel Farage is overclaiming the number of Labour Leavers who are out there. The truth is that where the Brexit Party stands it hurts the Tories.’
Mr Farage yesterday insisted his actions would not split the Leave vote. Campaigning in Bolsover, Derbyshire, where he visited a boxing gym, he said: ‘We are the only people offering Brexit because Boris’s deal is not Brexit.
‘The five million Labour Leavers are the most likely people to vote for the Brexit Party.’
‘Letting in Jeremy Corbyn’