NIGEL Farage has vowed to reject any offers of an electoral pact with the Tories, insisting he could not “trust” them to deliver Brexit.
The Brexit Party leader confirmed “a couple” of Tory donors had recently approached him about a possible alliance to try to save their party from being wiped out at the next general election.
But he declared support for his anti-Brussels force was “not up for grabs” and warned that the country appeared to be heading for yet another lengthy Brexit delay this autumn whoever succeeds Theresa May as the next Tory leader and prime minister.
Speaking to the Daily Express, Mr Farage said: “I’ve been approached by a couple of people. But why would I trust anybody in the Conservative Party?
“If they really want to leave on October 31, they need to get on with it. All I can see at the moment is a rerun of March 29.
“I can understand why they want to buy me off but the lack of trust means it’s not up for grabs.”
The Brexit Party leader spoke out after the leader of a group Tory donors said the next prime minister “needs to be willing to work with Farage”.
In a newspaper article, Johnny Leavesley wrote: “Farage knows he can’t win a general election outright and many Conservatives will realise that is also their truth,” he wrote.
“A Brexit-Conservative pact might lose the Tories much of their liberal wing, but it would give clarity over Brexit and be the key to enough popularity to save them. In essence, the next prime minister needs to be willing to work with Farage.”
Mr Leavesley described Mr Farage as a “Marmite” figure, suggesting he divides opinion like the yeast spread.
He added: “Many senior Tories would no doubt find alliance with the ‘Marmite Farage’ a repugnant proposition, but reality should force what could be a very convenient marriage.
“Farage knows he can’t win a general election outright and many Conservatives will realise that is also their truth.”
Some Tories fear the Brexit Party could take millions of Tory votes at the next general election, thwarting dozens of Tory candidates.
Mr Farage’s force topped the euro elections last month with a 31% share of the vote across the UK.
And a YouGov opinion poll on general election preference gave the Brexit Party 24%, ahead of both the Tories and Labour on 21% each.
Tory supporters of a pact suggest their party would not put up candidates against the Brexit Party in metropolitan Labour seats in the north of England that had a firm Leave vote at the 2016 general election.
In return, the Brexit Party would be expected not to contest constituencies held by Brexit-backing Tory MPs in the party’s southern and rural heartlands.
Brexit minister James Cleverly, who is supporting Mr Johnson in the race to be Tory leader, said the Conservatives would not need to do a deal with Mr Farage if the former foreign secretary wins the contest.
He told the BBC Radio Four Today programme: “I can’t see that is something he would want to do and it is not anything he would need to do.
“He is able to win elections with Conservatives and Conservative support. He didn’t broach electoral pacts in London and I can’t imagine he would need to broach electoral pacts at this point.”
Five out of the six candidates in the Tory leadership race have insisted they would not hold talks with Mr Farage in their effort to try to get a Brexit deal.
But International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, whose campaign is gaining momentum in the battle for the final run-off that is almost certain to be against Mr Johnson.
TAP. You have to say, an electoral pact would make sense if Farage trusts Johnson, but how can he or anyone trust Johnson? If Rory Stewart were to win the leadership, there would be possibility of a pact. I would say this rumour plays to the advantage of Rory Stewart trying to appeal to Conservative MPs. I would not be surprised if it was first encouraged by his camp and their donor supporters, whoever they happen to be. The Rothschild big money never wanted Brexit.