Tory donors in secret talks with Nigel Farage over general election pact to save Brexit
As reported by The Daily Telegraph, the suggestion is the Brexit Party would not stand against Tory Brexiteers and the Tories would not contest seats in traditional Labour seats in the north, where the Brexit Party has polled strongly. Some supporters hope an agreement could prevent any defections if MPs are unhappy with the new leader. Several high profile Tories contested the European elections after defecting to the Brexit Party, such as former Cabinet member Ann Widdecombe.
Mr Farage’s newly formed Brexit Party were the most popular party in Britain’s European elections, winning 29 seats with 30.5 percent of the vote.
The Tories finished behind the Liberal Democrats, Labour and Greens with just 4 seats, a loss of 15, with just 8.8 percent of the vote.
Johnny Leavesley, the head of the party’s largest donor group, the Midlands Industrial Council, said in The Daily Telegraph the next Prime Minister “needs to be willing to work with Farage”.
One leadership candidate, Rory Stewart, phoned into Mr Farage’s LBC radio programme to say his party “had to find a way, as a party, of reaching out to you.
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“You represent such an important part of this debate.”
The response from the former Ukip leader was: “I would do a deal with the devil to get a proper Brexit.”
Donors are expected to ask for private hustings with the two remaining candidates in the leadership election, who will go to a members ballot.
Mr Farage confirmed discussions were already underway.
He said on LBC: “I have had a couple of approaches from people saying ‘wouldn’t this be a good idea?’ To which I say ‘to do what? Just to keep the Tories inside Number 10 and us in the EU?”
He added: “I don’t trust any of them (leadership candidates) to deliver a genuine Brexit and unless that situation changes, we are gearing up as an organisation to fight every seat in the country.”
Mr Leavesley’s body had donated £5million to the Tories in the run-up to the last general election, but the 33 member organisation had put a hold donation in opposition to Theresa May’s leadership.
Mr Leavesley wrote that an alliance might be necessary given the Brexit Party’s strong performance in the polls, and the weak showing from the Tories: “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.
“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.”
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