Nigel Farage has offered an olive branch to Boris Johnson by calling for a “leave alliance” with the Brexit Party in return for softening his Brexit position.
Farage launched the party’s campaign this morning, where he said the party planned to field candidates in every constituency in England, Wales and Scotland in next month’s general election.
However, if Johnson, and other opposition MPs, agreed to a leave alliance he said the Brexit Party would stand aside in some seats.
Farage also said he would soften his Brexit position and agree to go for a free trade agreement with the EU if an alliance was formed.
His current position is that the UK must go for a no-deal exit from the EU.
“Boris Johnson would win a very big majority and on that manifesto we really could get Brexit done,” he said.
“To quote a friend of mine [US President Donald Trump], we’d become an ‘unstoppable force’.
“I hope and pray after 25 years of endeavour this works, but if it doesn’t the Brexit Party will be the only party standing in these elections that actually represents Brexit.”
However, Conservative party chairman James Cleverly was quick to throw cold water on the offer.
He said: “A vote for Farage risks letting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street via the back door – and the country spending 2020 having two referendums on Brexit and Scottish independence.
It will not get Brexit done.”
The Brexit Party leader praised Johnson for bringing a deal back to parliament that got the UK out of the customs union, but said the price paid was “appalling”.
He said: “The price of that was having Northern Ireland hived off.”
Farage said it was unacceptable that Johnson’s deal kept the UK in the European Court of Justice and that the political declaration still calls for some regulatory alignment with the EU.
“Just a free trade deal and a deadline of 1 July…if Boris went along with that I would view it to be a totally reasonable positio,” he said.
Farage’s speech also attacked Labour for abandoning its traditional working class base.
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“The absolute truth of it is that it was in fact the Ukip vote that disproportionately hurt the Labour Party in the 2015 election.
He claimed the Brexit Party would hurt Labour’s chances in the party’s traditional heartland constituencies in the Midlands and the North East, most of which voted Brexit.
He said the party “views those constituencies among our top targets”.
“This lazy thinking that all Brexit voters are Conservatives is nonsense,” he said.
“There wouldn’t have been a conservative majority if it wasn’t for the Ukip vote.”
Last night Farage conducted a 30 minute interview with US President Donald Trump on his LBC radio programme.
Trump criticised Johnson’s Brexit deal and warned the US “can’t make a trade deal with the UK” under the terms of the Prime Minister’s EU withdrawal agreement.
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Downing Street retorted that the deal meant the UK “can strike our own free trade deals around the world”.
A spokesperson added that “every part of the UK will benefit” from such trade agreements.