Nigel Farage today gave Boris Johnson two weeks to tear up his EU withdrawal deal, and warned that if he does not, the Brexit Party will fight every seat in mainland Britain in the upcoming general election.
The Brexit Party leader denounced the prime minister’s deal as a “sell-out” which was “not really Brexit”.
And he said he was ready to throw the Brexit Party into a “Leave Alliance” with the Conservatives only if Mr Johnson ditched the deal to begin a new negotiation for a Canada-style free trade agreement with a deadline for departure of 1 July 2020.
But his overture earned him a cold shoulder from Tories, with Conservative chairman James Cleverly saying only: “A vote for Farage risks letting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street via the back door – and the country spending 2020 having two referendums on Brexit and Scottish independence. It will not get Brexit done – and it will create another gridlocked Parliament that doesn’t work.”
Speaking in London, Mr Farage said the Brexit Party was “very prepared to compromise” with Tories.
But he said that if Mr Johnson failed to give up his deal by 14 November, the Brexit Party will stand candidates in all 342 constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales.
The Brexit Party leader said that that Mr Johnson’s deal with Brussels was little different from the “appalling surrender treaty” forged by predecessor Theresa May.
“Boris tells us it is a great new deal,” he said. “It’s not. It is a bad old treaty and, simply, it is not Brexit.”
The Johnson plan would mean at least three more years of “agonising” negotiation on a future trade deal, during which the UK would be tied to EU regulations, he warned.
“We wouldn’t be in any way taking back control of our money, our laws and our borders,” said Mr Farage.
And he said that US president Donald Trump had made clear that “if we continue down this route, there will not be trade deals with the USA, or indeed, I don’t think, with any other parts of the world.”
Mr Farage said: “Boris’s deal will deliver the burdens of EU membership but no say whatsoever. It will not get Brexit done. It will lead to a campaign for us to rejoin which, if it was put to a referendum, I have no doubt would succeed.”
Mr Farage said it was “nonsense” to think that Brexit Party candidates would be a danger only to Tory prospects, insisting that his previous party Ukip had “disproportionately” taken votes from Labour in the 2015 general election.
And he said he will next week tour Labour-held seats in the East Midlands, North-East, South Wales and east London – as well as Workington, identified as typical of the kind of working-class “rugby league towns” in the north of England where voters may switch direct from Jeremy Corbyn’s party to the Brexit Party.
He made clear that in any Leave Alliance he would expect Tories to stand down their candidates in constituencies where the Brexit Party is best placed to take seats from Labour.
A combination of Tories and Brexit Party would be able to deliver “a very big majority” in parliament, creating an “unstoppable force” to ensure the UK cut all ties with the EU single market and customs union, he claimed.