Secret last-ditch talks between allies of Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have been held in a bid to try to put the overwhelming majority of Brexit Party candidates out of the upcoming general election.
The “robust” yet “frustrated” negotiations involving senior figures in the Conservative Party, including a Cabinet Minister and “high-flying city-lawyer Andrew Reid, who has strong connections to both the Brexit Party and the Tories” were revealed by Arron Banks, formerly Farage’s closest political ally.
He referred to Conservative voters’ concerns that Farage’s decision “to contest every seat at the General Election will split the vote so badly it could open the door of No 10 Downing Street to Jeremy Corbyn”.
“If Conservative fears come true and they fail to form a Government on December 12, Labour has enough friends among the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats to form a pro-Remain administration instead. And if that disaster should take place, we can say goodbye to Brexit altogether”, Banks was cited by The Daily Mail as saying in written remarks on Saturday.
He singled out a “behind-the-scenes compromise” stipulating Farage ordering “those of his candidates who cannot win to stand aside – but only on condition that changes are made to the deal that Boris [Johnson] negotiated with Brussels to stop us being shackled to EU rules.”
Banks warned that “the time for splitting hairs is over” and that “if we refuse to get out while we can, then Remainers will hijack our exit.”
He touted “these new talks” between Farage and Johnson allies as “encouraging” but added that “there is still much work to be done to ensure the two sides join forces”.
“We must all remember this: it is better to continue fighting for the right type of Brexit from the Government benches than to open the door of No 10 to a Marxist rabble hellbent on staying in the EU. That is a prospect that should clear minds and cool egos. For the sake of Brexit and for the sake of our great country, we must unite,” Banks concluded.
Farage Unwilling to Take Part in UK General Election
His remarks came after Farage made it clear last week that he would not take part in the 12 December general election in the UK.
“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.
Last week, British MPs voted 438 to 20 to support Johnson's proposal to hold an early general election to try and win a majority in parliament and have his Brexit deal with the EU approved. On the same day, the EU granted the UK another Brexit delay until 31 January.