Nigel Farage has escalated his attack on the prime minister’s Brexit deal after Boris Johnson ruled out forming a ‘Leave Alliance’ to fight the general election.
Johnson rejected Farage’s ultimatum to drop the deal with the EU or face a contest for every seat in the December 12 election between Conservative and Brexit Party candidates.
The Brexit Party leader said he will not stand as a candidate in the Westminster election, telling BBC’s Andrew Marr he will “serve the cause better traversing the length and breadth of the United Kingdom supporting 600 [Brexit party] candidates.”
Johnson’s cheesy deal
Farage – who has stood and failed to be elected as an MP seven times – dismissed Johnson’s claims that Brexit “will all be over by Christmas” and said people “need to understand that actually, what’s on offer is a close linkage with all the European institutions [and] a next negotiating phase of at least three years, so I’m going out, across the country, starting tomorrow.”
The former UKIP leader likened Johnson’s deal to a piece of cheese, telling the Sunday Times: “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.”
In the same interview, Farage claimed the Tories have twice offered “to make me a peer” to try and “buy” his support with “Christmas baubles” including the offer of a safe Conservative seat for a senior member of the Brexit Party.
“We won’t be bought,” said Farage, who is insistent the PM must scrap his Brexit deal and instead leave the EU on World Trade Organisation terms after the general election.
PM’s ‘matter of deep regret’
The prime minster apologised to Conservative party members for the Brexit delay, having previously promised to “get Brexit done” by Halloween, “do or die.”
In an interview with Sky New’s Sophie Ridge, he said the failure was “a matter of deep regret” and described the delay as “painful” – not for his own ego but for the families and businesses unable to plan for the future and affected by the uncertainty.
In the same interview Johnson dismissed Donald Trump’s assertion that his deal with the EU would make a UK-US deal far more difficult post Brexit.
“I don’t wish to cast any aspersions on the president of the United States,” said the prime minister, “but in that respect he is patently in error. Anybody who looks at our deal can see it is a great deal, and what it does is it allows us to take back control of our money, our borders and our laws. But also, it allows us to have full unfettered control of our tariff schedules.”
In a double page advert printed in the pro-Brexit Daily Telegraph last month, Farage and his Brexit Party urged MPs to vote down Johnson’s deal on what was dubbed Super Saturday, with the ad stating: “Sorry Boris. Your deal is not great, it’s not new – and it’s not Brexit.”