Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said the Brexit Party leader’s promise to give 317 sitting Conservative MPs a free ride was a “good start” but then piled on the pressure saying that more must be done to ensure Boris Johnson’s party will get a majority at the election:
“It’s a good start but if they want to deliver Brexit they’ve still got to focus on the fact that if they divide the vote they’ll let Labour in.
He’s going to have to go further. This is a game of two halves – we’ve had the first half and now we’re going to have the second half.
The second half is where he gets to decide which seats he stands down from, and he’s going to have to stand down from some of them.”
Asked if he might “back-pedal” and not challenge Tory candidates in marginal seats Farage refused to rule it out and told The Telegraph “I have just taken 48 hours to make this decision – allow this one to settle first.”
According to BBC’s Newsnight, the decision came after a message from the Brexit Party to the Tories that Mr Farage needed a public declaration on two issues – that the transition period would not be extended and that he would negotiate a Canada-style free trade deal with the EU.
Writing in The Telegraph which is a pro-Tory paper, Mr Farage said he saw “a chink of light” when he viewed the video posted on Twitter by Boris Johnson at the weekend.
In his Telegraph column for which he is paid he wrote:
“Now, The Brexit Party will focus its energies on fighting every seat held by Labour, which has betrayed more than five million of its voters, and all the Remainer parties.
If we can win some of these seats, our presence in parliament will keep Boris Johnson honest and help to deliver Brexit.
I have no great love for the Tories, but I can see that by giving Johnson half a chance we will prevent a second referendum. To me, that is the single most important thing for Britain. No matter how it is achieved.”