Nigel Farage says he will not stand for MP in general election

Farage says he can ‘serve the cause better’ supporting Brexit party’s 600 candidates

Nigel Farage has announced he will not make an eighth attempt to become an MP in December’s general election.

Farage announced on Friday at his Brexit party’s campaign launch that it was preparing to stand candidates in the vast majority of seats across Britain unless it could strike a pact with the Conservatives.

On Sunday he said that while his party intended to field up to 600 candidates, he would not be one of them.

“I have thought very hard about this: how do I serve the cause of Brexit best,” Farage told the BBC’s Andrew Marr. “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.”

At the launch on Friday, Farage urged Boris Johnson to drop his Brexit deal, which he claimed was “not Brexit” and would hamper the UK’s opportunities to strike free-trade deals.

He suggested his party was prepared to stand aside in some seats in exchange for the Conservatives giving the Brexit party a shot at up to 150 Labour-held constituencies in the Midlands and north that it believes it can win.

But Johnson is also targeting these kinds of seats and has brushed off suggestions of a leave alliance, warning that a vote for any other party than his risks putting Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.

Farage said: “I’ve wanted for months for there to be a leave alliance. It seems obvious to me that no one party can own Brexit voters – there are Tory Brexit voters, there are Brexit party Brexit voters and a lot of Labour Brexit voters.

“I always thought that to win an election, get a big majority so we can get a proper Brexit, a coming-together would be the objective. I still hope and pray it happens, but it doesn’t look like it will.”

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Farage suggested the Conservatives had offered him a peerage as a “bauble” in exchange for not targeting Tory seats at the election, and a senior party colleague had been offered the opportunity to stand in a safe Conservative seat.

The Brexit party’s poll rating has been significantly squeezed since Johnson came to power touting his willingness to pursue a no-deal Brexit and then struck a last-minute deal in Brussels last month.

Johnson will not welcome the prospect of Farage touring the country urging voters to reject his deal. In the Sunday Times, Farage compared Johnson’s deal to a piece of cheese. “When you get it out of the fridge it’s really appetising and delicious for a few days, but after a couple of weeks it stinks and is inedible,” he said.


Heather Stewart

The GuardianTramp

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