Farage tells Johnson: Drop Brexit deal and I’ll help you win
London, Nov. 1 (PTI/AP): British euroskeptic politician Nigel Farage tried to ramp up pressure on Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday, saying his Brexit Party would run against the Conservatives across the country unless Johnson abandons his divorce deal with the European Union.
Farage’s party was founded earlier this year to push for a hard Brexit and currently has no seats in Parliament. It rejects Johnson’s divorce deal with the EU, preferring to leave the bloc with no agreement on future relations in what it calls a “clean-break” Brexit.
Launching the Brexit Party’s campaign for Britain’s Dec. 12 election, Farage said Johnson’s deal “is not Brexit” because it would mean continuing to follow some EU rules and holding years of negotiations on future relations.
“Boris tell us this is a great new deal. It is not. It is a bad old treaty and simply it is not Brexit,” Farage said.
He spoke a day after U.S. President Donald Trump urged his friend Farage to make an electoral pact with Johnson’s Conservatives.
Trump barged into the British election campaign on Thursday, telling Farage on the British politician’s radio phone-in show that he and Johnson would be “an unstoppable force.”
Farage, who played a key role in the 2016 campaign for Britain to leave the EU, said that if Johnson agreed to abandon his deal, the Brexit Party would form a “non-aggression pact” with the Conservatives, standing aside in many areas.
If the Brexit Party runs in only a small number of seats, that would help the Conservatives, who are vying with Farage for the support of Brexit-backing voters.
“I believe the only way to solve this is to build a ‘leave’ alliance across this country,” Farage said.
“If it was done, Boris Johnson would win a very big majority.” Farage said that if Johnson rejects the offer, “we will contest every single seat in England, Scotland and Wales.” Johnson has ruled out an electoral pact with Farage.
“We are not interested in doing any pacts with the Brexit Party or indeed with anybody else,” Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said Friday. “We are in this to win it.” The prime minister sought this election, which is being held more than two years early, to break the political impasse over Britain’s stalled departure from the EU.
Johnson promised for months that the U.K. would leave the 28-nation bloc on the scheduled date of Oct. 31, “come what may.” He struck a divorce deal with the bloc last month, but Parliament blocked his plan to rush it into law in a matter of days.
Last week the EU granted Britain a three-month Brexit delay, setting a new Jan. 31 deadline.
Johnson blames the opposition for the failure to leave the EU on Thursday as scheduled.