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Brexit Party could step aside for Tories in hundreds of seats in major boost for Boris Johnson

Brexit Party could step aside for Tories in hundreds of seats in major boost for Boris Johnson
2 min read

The Brexit Party could step aside in hundreds of seats in what would be a huge election boost to Boris Johnson, it has emerged.

Senior figures in the anti-EU party, which topped the European elections earlier this year, say the party should field as few as 20 candidates to avoid splitting the Leave vote in key seats.

Brexit Party MEP John Longworth told The Times that it should focus on areas where it was likely to have the most impact, rather than contest hundreds of seats across the country.

"I think we ought to be targeted in terms of the number of seats that we decide to address,” he said.

"I can imagine that might be 20 or 30. They would be entirely winnable then if you poured all your resources into them. You probably would not get any more if you concentrated on the 600. But you would also get a better result for Brexit too."

The Telegraph and Financial Times meanwhile report that senior Brexit Party figures are split over whether to contest every seat or give a clear run to avowed Tory Eurosceptics.

Insiders are said to fear that the party could split the Leave vote in marginal seats, undermining the Conservative campaign and instead letting in pro-Remain Liberal Democrat or Labour MPs.

In a sign that its election strategy is still being thrashed out, prospective Brexit Party candidates were sent an email on Wednesday telling them to "go DARK on social media".

It added: "DO NOT respond to any questions about where we are standing, what the strategy or plan is from now. Things will be made clear very soon."

An announcement on the party's election strategy could come on Friday, but a source told PoliticsHome that suggestions they may stand aside to give Conservatives a clear run in hundreds of seats was "wild speculation".

Mr Farage, who is currently on a trip to Washington, told the Telegraph he was still "working through" his options but he dismissed claims the party would only field 20 candidates as "utter rot".

And he added: "I’ve said nothing about it to anybody and frankly there’s no rush.

“I’m working it through at the moment and will announce it in good time.”

But Arron Banks, who co-founded the Leave.EU campaign group with Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice, told The Guardian there is a "split view" in the party on how to proceed.

“What I was saying was, be strategic," he added. "Where it makes sense to stand, stand. Where it doesn’t, don’t."

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Engineering a Better World

The Engineering a Better World podcast series from The House magazine and the IET is back for series two! New host Jonn Elledge discusses with parliamentarians and industry experts how technology and engineering can provide policy solutions to our changing world.

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