Nigel Farage tells Boris Johnson to drop support for Theresa May's Brexit deal to secure election pact
Nigel Farage has urged Boris Johnson to ditch his backing for Theresa May's EU deal in exchange for an election tie-up between the Conservatives and the Brexit Party.
The former Ukip leader, whose new party is currently well ahead in the polls for Thursday's European elections, said he had a "real problem" with the Tory leadership hopeful's decision to vote for the Prime Minister's deal in March.
Mr Farage has previously held out the prospect of an electoral pact with any new Conservative leader who backs leaving the European Union without a deal.
Asked by The Telegraph whether the next Tory leader would have to ditch support for the current Withdrawal Agreement to win his party's backing, Mr Farage said: "Of course. Absolutely.
"If a new Conservative leader said ‘we are leaving on WTO terms on Hallowe’en Day’ then that would be a great step in the right direction but would they actually stick to it? How could we trust them? That is the problem.
"Everyone keeps shouting Boris’s name at me - Boris voted for the Withdrawal Agreement despite everything he had written in your newspaper. I have got a real problem with that. A real problem with that. So we will see."
He added: "Boris talked about vassalage, talked about slave state, talked about May's treaty in more colourful language than I would use and then votes for it. So what does he really believe?"
Mr Johnson - who resigned from the Government last year over Mrs May's Brexit policy - has repeatedly criticised the agreement struck between the UK and the EU, describing it as a "suicide vest around the British constitution".
He twice voted against the deal when it was put before MPs, but then switched sides at the third vote after reaching the "sad conclusion" that it represented the only way to ensure Brexit happens.
The Conservative leadership favourite said at the time: "I have been and remain intensely critical of the deal. But we have a choice to make now, and that means choosing between options that actually exist I have come to the sad conclusion that neither this government nor this parliament is willing to leave with no deal."
The latest intervention from the Brexit Party leader comes after reports that Mr Johnson - who last week confirmed his intention to run for the Tory leadership - would reject any tie-up with Mr Farage in favour of going it alone.
A friend told The Sun: "He's categorically ruled out doing any deal with Nigel Farage.
"Boris is the only leadership candidate who can see off both him and hard-left Mr Corbyn."