Brexit Party candidates furious after Nigel Farage announces they cannot contest 317 seats

‘I don’t understand why you build a dedicated new group, then sacrifice half of it without missing a step,’ says spurned contender

Jon Sharman
Tuesday 12 November 2019 12:18 GMT
Nigel Farage insists Brexit Party will still contest Labour seats

Prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) for the ​Brexit Party have reacted furiously to Nigel Farage’s decision not to contest more than 300 constituencies, in an informal general election pact with the Conservative Party.

The party’s founder and leader, who has tried and failed to become an MP seven times, said the party would withdraw from the race in 317 seats to help Boris Johnson deliver Brexit.

Accusing Mr Farage of “letting Brexiteers down”, Neil Greaves said he now intended to stand as an independent in his Harlow constituency.

“He should be standing up for the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit,” the 52-year-old said, adding that Mr Farage had “been totally outmanoeuvred and out-negotiated without Boris even having to say anything”.

Caroline Coram, who was running in Sleaford in Lincolnshire, tweeted that she feared Mr Farage’s move “will not deliver the expected result”.

She added: “I predict another hung parliament and more wrangling over Deal and No Deal.”

Darren Selkus, who had been the Brexit Party PPC in Epping Forest, said: “I don’t understand after exposing Boris Johnson’s deal as a surrender why the Brexit Party is now backing it.”

In a statement posted to his website, Mr Selkus said he had been left with no one to vote for.

Mr Farage had “betrayed my incredible volunteers and thousands of constituents who will have no one to vote for,” he said, adding: “I don’t understand why you build a dedicated new party and then sacrifice half of it without missing a step.”

Claire Mowbray, who had intended to contest Maidenhead, the constituency held by former prime minister Theresa May, tweeted that she was “very disappointed” by the decision.

A Brexit Party spokesman told The Independent that angry tweets apparently posted by its former PPC in Crawley, Wayne Bayley, were not legitimate. He said: “Wayne is not behind these tweets and is in the process of [regaining] control of the account from what we assume is a rogue campaigner.

“Wayne told us this morning he thinks Nigel is a ‘strategic genius’ for forming a Leave alliance yesterday. He has been a great PPC and he continues to fully support the party’s position. And for clarity, Wayne has not employed anyone, as some of the tweets suggest.”

Others in the party were more understanding of Mr Farage’s motives.

Marlene Godwin, until yesterday the PPC in Eastleigh in Hampshire, told her Facebook followers: “Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement. It was never in my plan to be a politician but as a Brexiteer I stood up and was counted.

“Onwards now to the GE where I will ask you to please vote for the leave candidate, who is a Conservative. To win the Brexit we long for, it requires us to do things we may find hard at the time. But it is always country before any personal gain.”​

Ahmad Malik, in Buckinghamshire, said he would remain loyal to the party “and would vote for them if I could”.

Annunziata Rees-Mogg, a leading Brexit Party figure and the sister of Brexiteer Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, said Mr Farage’s move was “the right decision for our country”.

She added: “United we stand, divided we fall. Brexit must be delivered.”

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