On Sunday, the leader of the United Kingdom’s new Brexit Party announced that he will not stand for Member of Parliament (MP) in the coming general snap election on December 12. Nigel Farage, to many the face of the Brexit movement in the U.K., announced his decision in an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
Farage later confirmed his decision in a tweet: “From tomorrow, I will be going out to campaign across the length and breadth of this country. We will explain to people why Boris’ Brexit is a betrayal of 17.4 million. That means I have no time to fight a seat myself, but I will support 600 people who are.”
Last week, after three failed attempts, Parliament finally voted in favor of holding the snap general election in an attempt to break the political impasse over Brexit. Johnson hopes to regain the governing majority he lost earlier this year when 21 Conservative MPs chose to stand against him on a key vote regarding negotiations with the EU. Johnson ousted those 21 MPs from the party, leaving no party or coalition with a firm majority.
Farage may not be running, but his Brexit Party will contest at least 600 seats nationwide. The party will contest districts held by every major party in the U.K., including Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative (Tory) Party.
Farage told Marr that he decided he should focus on campaigning nationwide rather than committing himself to one district. “I have thought very hard about this. How do I serve the cause of Brexit best?” Farage said.
“Do I fight 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.”
The announcement represents a change in course for Farage, who announced in late September that he wouldstand for MP. At that time, however, he also offered current PM Boris Johnson a deal in which the Brexit Party would not fight for Tory seats in exchange for a promise that Johnson would seek a clean or “no-deal” Brexit. Johnson flatly refused the offer, saying that the Tories do not do deals and that the only way to secure Brexit was to back the Conservative (Tory) Party.
Farage, who currently sits as a member of the European Parliament (MEP), has been extremely critical of Johnson’s new deal with the EU, calling it a “Remainer’s Brexit,” a “massive con,” and that it was “95 percent the same” as former PM Theresa May’s deal, which failed no less than three times in Parliament.
Farage has been very vocal in the past few months about aligning the various Brexit factions, believing that it might be the only way to secure a clean Brexit.
“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,” Farage said.
“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 that it happens, but it doesn’t look like it will,” Farage concluded.
Some in the Conservative Party believe that Farage’s own party is now lining up against him, citing the example of longtime Farage colleague Arron Banks urging Brexit Party members to back Johnson’s new deal.
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