- - Tuesday, November 19, 2019

So, it’s official, the Conservative Party wants to wreck Brexit. Why else is it fielding candidates in Labor-held seats that it has not won in more than 100 years, which will split the Brexit vote and increase the chances of Remain candidates winning?

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spurned Nigel Farage’s offer to form a Brexit alliance that would have avoided that outcome, and also the advice of President Donald Trump that the two Brexit leaders should work together.

This had not been an easy decision for Mr. Farage to make as it meant supporting the Conservatives’ European Union deal that he loathes and risked splitting his own party.

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The prime minister says he wants Brexit decided quickly, but an element within his party still wants to destroy the Brexit Party along with it.

They resent Mr. Farage for forcing them into territory they never wanted to be in. After all, it was the Conservatives that first took the U.K. into the EEC, as it was then known, in 1973 and most were quite happy to stay there forever. 

As far back as 2006, David Cameron mocked Mr. Farage’s “people’s army,” then under the UKIP banner, as “a bunch of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists.” But by 2013 they had managed to pressure him to consider holding the referendum on EU membership. 

Mr. Cameron hoped it would put an end to the matter once and for all so that he could get on with his progressive agenda. Dabbling in direct democracy worked for him in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, so he assumed it would also thwart U.K. independence. 

In the 2015 election, he gave the Conservatives their first outright majority in years, but UKIP also attracted 4 million votes. The weird way elections are run here they still only won one seat, but in the referendum those votes would prove crucial.

Surprisingly, Mr. Cameron allowed his ministers to decide which side of the “in or out” referendum they wanted to be on. The media accepted his explanation that he was treating it as a matter of conscience, but if he really believed Britain’s national interest was at stake why would he be so “laissez-faire” about the ballot?

Could it be this was more a form of arbitrage betting — an insurance policy so that whichever side won, the Conservatives could claim victory? 

If they had just backed the Remain side, then losing the referendum might have led to his government falling, but this way it was avoided. Also, by Conservative ministers taking over the “Leave” campaign, this marginalized Nigel Farage and stopped him claiming the Brexit victory for UKIP.

The Conservatives had already thrown huge resources into defeating his attempt to become MP for South Thanet in 2015. Rumors still remain there about missing ballot boxes, postal vote discrepancies and an unusually late vote count.

Boris Johnson, a late convert to Brexit, was chosen to lead the Tory Brexiteers. He was helped by the electoral commission designating his “Vote Leave” group as the official organisation to represent the Leaver side, rather than Nigel Farage’s group, “Leave.uk.” 

After David Cameron lost the referendum, he resigned rather than honor his pledge to carry out the people’s wishes. Theresa May, who voted to remain in, was then made prime minister and put in charge of the delicate Brexit negotiations. Was this also a part of the insurance policy?

She managed to lose Mr. Cameron’s majority in a disastrous snap election in 2017 and her EU withdrawal act was trashed three times, but his newly passed Fixed-term Parliament Act meant her government survived. 

Instead, the British public was forced to watch as she wasted years humiliating her nation by obfuscating the result and damaging the U.K.’s democratic credibility with her dumb deal.

Thankfully, most of the leading Remainers within the Conservative Party have now been sacked or resigned. They were like the “Never-Trumpers” in the Republican Party who thought sinking their own ship was preferable to where it was heading.

Brexit converts now have the upper hand, but they still seem unable to overcome their antipathy towards you-know-who. These “Never-Faragers” stubbornly believe they can go it alone, but this arrogance could cost the country the Brexit prize.

One Conservative recently described Mr. Farage as “not a fit and proper person” who “should never be allowed anywhere near government.” 

Yet, the police are currently investigating whether his “moral superiors” tried to bribe Mr. Farage and seven other senior Brexit Party members with seats in the House of Lords if they agreed to not stand in this election.

The prime minister denies the allegations, but he has brazenly told Mr. Farage that standing down 317 of his candidates isn’t enough. No, he wants all 600 of them gone. 

The Conservatives Party’s hubris seems to know no bounds.

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

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