Lib Dems demand Boris Johnson answers questions over Nigel Farage peerage claims

‘The public deserve to know of any agreement before they go to the polls,’ say Lib Dems

Peter Stubley
Sunday 17 November 2019 02:38
General Election: Nigel Farage says Brexit Party will not contest seats won by Conservatives in 2017

The Liberal Democrats have urged Boris Johnson to confirm whether Nigel Farage was offered a peerage or a role as UK ambassador to the US in return for allying with the Conservative Party.

In a letter to the prime minister, deputy leader Ed Davey said “the public deserve to know” the terms of any agreement made with senior figures in The Brexit Party ahead of the general election.

He said “serious questions and concerns” were raised by Mr Farage’s claim that he was offered a peerage three days before standing down candidates in 317 Tory-held seats.

Mr Davey also claimed that the Lib Dems were the “main challengers to the Tories” in many of the affected constituencies.

Outlining three key questions, he first asked Mr Johnson to confirm “whether Nigel Farage or any Brexit Party candidate or official was offered a peerage or an official appointment for allying with the Conservatives during this general election.”

He then urged the prime minister to confirm whether the Brexit Party leader – a friend of Donald Trump – was offered the role of British ambassador to the US.

“Such a move would be of grave concern given the subsequent increased threat of a post-Brexit UK-US trade deal that would undermine our NHS, farmers and other businesses,” Mr Davey said.

His third and final question to Mr Johnson requested confirmation on whether he or his party had taken legal advice on the Honours (Prevention of Abuss) Act of 1925, which banned the sale of peerages.

The Liberal Democrats have also called on the Conservatives to launch an independent internal enquiry into allegations officials offered jobs and peerages to Brexit Party candidates in return for standing aside.

Sal Brinton, the party’s president and a member of the House of Lords, said: “The severity of these claims has implications not just for the integrity of the General Election, but also for the public’s trust in our democracy.”

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed they are assessing “two allegations of electoral fraud and malpractice in relation to the general election”.

Mr Johnson has admitted there were “conversations” between senior Tories and the Brexit Party but denied that peerages were offered, saying it was “just not the way we operate”.

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