Nigel Farage risks becoming the “man who threw away Brexit”, Steve Baker, chairman of the Eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG) has warned, as the Brexit Party leader prepares to unveil his 600 election candidates, reports The Telegraph.
The senor Tory Brexiteer accused Farage of “setting out” to create a “weak and indecisive” hung Parliament if he fields 600 election candidates during December’s parliamentary vote.
The former Brexit minister, who until now remained closely aligned with Farage on Brexit, also lambasted his decision not to stand as an MP, saying it showed he was “not serious about governing the country”.
He also said his fellow Brexiteer was “wrong” to characterise Boris Johnson's deal as “not Brexit”, adding it was “a path to a great future”.
Baker warned “we will not succeed if Nigel Farage creates a hung parliament by dogmatically pursuing purity”.
Echoing these warnings, Nigel Farage has said the British election is likely to result in a hung parliament and the Brexit Party's lawmakers could be "kingmakers".
"It is likely, it is likely that we are going to have a hung parliament next time around so actually if the Brexit Party get a reasonable amount of people in there they could exert great influence," Farage told ITV.
"Mrs. May was kept in power by 10 DUP MPs."
Farage said he would hurt the opposition Labour Party "in the most extraordinary way".
Brexit Party Geared to Fight the Tories
On 3 November, Nigel Farage revealed he would not stand as an MP in the snap election.
"I have thought very hard about this: How do I serve the cause of Brexit best? Do I find a seat and try to get myself into parliament or do I serve the cause better traversing the length and breadth of the United Kingdom supporting 600 candidates, and I've decided the latter course is the right one," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr on Sunday.
Farage, who claimed to have “agonised” over the decision, said he intended to focus on supporting his party’s candidates up and down the country.
Previously, the Brexit Party said it considers Johnson's deal to be a betrayal of the 2016 referendum, with Farage warning Prime Minister Boris Johnson that his candidates would use the election campaign to drive home the realisation that his Brexit deal is a "sell out."
Farage's announcement was seen as a potential setback for Johnson, as it risks splitting the vote of Brexit supporters in an election that will pit those who want to leave the European Union against those who want to stay.
There are reportedly concerns that if Nigel Farage fiercely contests hundreds of seats across the country on 12 December it could undermine Johnson's chances of winning a working majority.
Boris Johnson has reiterated there would be no election alliance with the Brexit Party, saying the only way of securing a Brexit was to back the Tories.
Meanwhile, voting for Farage's party, the Tories said, could stop Britain's withdrawal from the EU and bring Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10 through "the back door".
Pollsters: Snap Election a “Tough Call”
The UK Parliament is set to dissolve on 5 November; on 29 October MPs voted 438 to 20 to support Johnson's proposal to hold an early general election, with the EU granting the UK another Brexit delay until 31 January on the same day.
PM Johnson will seek to win a majority in parliament to break the deadlock over his proposed terms for taking the country out of the EU.
Ahead of the snap vote, pundits and pollsters have been describing this general election as the hardest to call in years.
Three separate surveys were published by various polling companies, each with the Tories out in front, but by different margins.
At the upper end of the scale was one by Opinium, which has the Conservatives with a 16 point lead.
In the middle is YouGov’s poll, which has Labour trailing the Tories by 12 percentage points, which is still optimistic for Boris Johnson, who will officially kick off his election campaign on Wednesday.
Latest Westminster voting intention (31 Oct - 1 Nov)— YouGov (@YouGov) November 3, 2019
Conservative - 39% (+3 from 29-30 Oct)
Labour - 27% (+6)
Lib Dem - 16% (-2)
Brexit Party - 7% (-6)
Green - 4% (-2)
Other - 7% (+1)https://t.co/cZPbP63BWT pic.twitter.com/kiGUqZ9P9E
But at the lower end is a survey by ORB International, which has Johnson’s party just eight points ahead.
New #brexit #poll from ORB International— ORB International (@ORB_Int) October 8, 2019
Do you approve or disapprove of the way in which the Government is handling the Brexit negotiations?
Approve – 26% (+3)
Disapprove – 74% (-3)
4th-6th Oct, n=2000 online
Full results here: https://t.co/SzI3olUCgG pic.twitter.com/TEh1XevEJK