Nigel Farage ‘offered peerage’ days before standing down Brexit Party candidates in Tory-held seats

‘Serious questions should be asked about what Boris Johnson offered to Nigel Farage in exchange for this deal’

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Monday 11 November 2019 19:33
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General Election: Nigel Farage says Brexit Party will not contest seats won by Conservatives in 2017

Nigel Farage claims he was offered a peerage just three days before standing down Brexit Party candidates in 317 Tory-held seats.

The party leader rejected accusations of a pact with Boris Johnson for the sudden ditching of his plan to fight for “a real Brexit” in every seat at next month’s general election.

But, asked if he was offered a peerage, he replied: “I was offered one last Friday.

Mr Farage insisted he would turn down any political honour, adding: “Ridiculous – the thought they can buy me, a high-paid job. But I’m not interested, I don’t want to know.”

However, Peter Dowd, a Labour treasury spokesman, reacted to the comments by saying: “This stinks.”

And a Liberal Democrat spokesperson, said: “Serious questions should be asked about what Boris Johnson offered to Nigel Farage in exchange for this deal.

“I’m not sure Tory MPs in Remain seats will be excited about how that looks.”

It is not the first time Mr Farage has made the claim of the Conservatives dangling a seat in the House of Lords in return for him going easy on the party at the ballot box.

However, the latest boast, made in Hartlepool, alleges the offer was made just 72 hours before the Brexit Party announcement expected to boost the Tories on 12 December.

Mr Farage himself called it a “unilateral Leave alliance”, reflecting the fact that it appeared to be an early one-way Christmas present for Mr Johnson.

The Conservative Party declined to respond to The Independent's request to respond to the claim of a peerage offer.

The decision to compete in only seats held by opposition parties follows growing pressure that a divided Conservative-Brexit Party vote could hand victory to anti-Brexit parties.

Mr Johnson welcomed Mr Farage’s move, calling it “a recognition that there’s only one way to get Brexit done, and that’s to vote for the Conservatives”.

Explaining his U-turn to supporters in Hartlepool, Mr Farage claimed the prime minister had recently signalled a “big shift of position” in his approach to Brexit.

He cited a pledge by Mr Johnson, on Sunday night, not to extend the transition period – during which the UK will abide by EU rules – beyond December 2020.

And he said he was encouraged by a recent commitment to seek a hard Brexit Canada-style deal, with significant divergence from Brussels in a post-Brexit trade deal.

That amounted to a “huge change” from the kind of trade pact that had been planned under Theresa May, Mr Farage argued.

However, in reality, Mr Johnson had simply been restating his position on both the transition and a future trade deal, which the Brexit Party leader had previously dismissed as not “a real Brexit”.

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