- - Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Nigel Farage has announced his Brexit Party will not stand candidates in the 317 seats that the Conservatives won in the last election. The Tories may be celebrating, but he could still stop them from winning a working majority.

Some media outlets saw this as a huge climb down for Mr. Farage as Boris Johnson now has more chance of pushing through his deal that has been dubbed Brexit-in-name-only (BRINO). 

At a press conference in Hartlepool, in the northeast of England, Mr. Farage admitted he hadn’t received the level of cooperation from the Conservative leader that he was hoping for, “In a sense we now have a Leave alliance — it’s just that we’ve done it unilaterally.” 

'Fake outrage': George Conway rips Melania Trump for amplifying 'nothingburger' Barron reference
Evangelist Franklin Graham calls impeachment hearing 'a day of shame for America'
White House, Trump family slam impeachment witness for 'classless' Barron Trump reference

With just a few days left until the deadline to register candidates, Mr. Farage had a tough decision to make. He was even under pressure from some of his own supporters to avoid splitting the Brexit vote. 

Of course, the Tories are also guilty of that by not agreeing to a pact, but Mr. Farage appears to have been the adult in the room and blinked first. As he put it, “for the good of the country.” 

The announcement certainly isn’t all bad news for Nigel Farage. He has avoided being blamed for jeopardizing Brexit and he claims to have won important concessions from the government. 

The previous three-year transition period will now not extend beyond 2020 and ongoing EU influence will not block future trade deals. That is, if you trust what the Tories say and you believe the EU will agree to it.

Certainly, by reducing candidates to around 280, the Brexit Party will now be able to focus its resources better to try to win those seats. 

Most at risk will be Remainer Labor MPs who are deeply unpopular for not keeping their promises to support the Brexit vote of their constituents. With a Brexit Party candidate standing against them, the Conservatives stand little chance of winning those seats.

Hartlepool is a good test case. It is a Labor-held seat where 70 percent voted to Leave the EU in the referendum. So will they vote for the Brexit Party this time around?

In many cases, the ongoing split will help the Remain candidates, but the Brexit Party seems certain to get some MPs elected to Parliament. 

The Conservatives need 326 MPs to have a majority of just one, so even if they take all the seats the Brexit Party has vacated they still need to find at least nine more from somewhere. 

They believe they can do that without the help of the Brexit Party, but their sense of entitlement to govern may have blinded them to how unpopular they are in the country. 

They started losing voters the day they stabbed Lady Thatcher in the back over her EU skepticism. She had given them majorities of over 100 seats, but ever since they have found it hard to win elections and never by a large margin. 

Voters now blame them for making a fiasco of the Brexit negotiations, especially by putting the Remainer, Theresa May, in charge. Their ongoing campaign to marginalize Nigel Farage, has also not endeared them to Brexiteers.

Students and their parents are already furious that they tripled university fees and set the interest on loans at usury levels of almost 10 times the U.K. base rate.

And now Mr. Johnson is demanding Brexiteers vote for a deal that smells much like the one Mrs. May tried to foist on the nation, which suffered the biggest defeat in Parliament’s very long history. 

He did try to improve its arrangements for Northern Ireland, but those changes have already been rejected by its Unionist MPs. Then there was President Trump’s damming assessment that the deal prevents the USA from signing huge trade deals with the U.K.  

In both cases it seems the prime minister wasn’t aware of the limitations of his own legislation. Perhaps this is because the U.K. hasn’t made independent trade deals since it gave up its own seat at the World Trade Organization after joining the EU.

The Conservatives’ fall-back strategy is always “vote for us or suffer the consequences.” This election will be no exception as it is either Boris’ deal, or Jeremy Corbyn’s Marxist ideals.

However, if voters seize this chance to let the cozy club in Parliament know what they think of them by voting for the Brexit Party, this really would cause a seismic shift in U.K. politics.

Mr. Johnson could find himself once again leading a weak government that is unable to get legislation through Parliament and this could force him to seek an alliance with the new Brexit Party MPs. 

If their price was that the prime minister drops his EU deal altogether, that could be game, set and match to Mr. Farage.

• Andrew Davies is a U.K.-based video producer and scriptwriter.

Sign up for Daily Opinion Newsletter

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide