Proof Farage could knock out Tories

His Brexit Party may split vote and save Re­main­ers in anti-EU hotspots

Scottish Daily Mail - - The Brexmas Election - By Ja­son Groves Po­lit­i­cal Editor

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’

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