Nigel Farage says Tories have twice offered him a peerage in bid to 'buy' Brexit Party support
Nigel Farage has claimed that the Conservatives offered him a peerage on two occasions in a bid to stop the Brexit Party running against them.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, the Brexit Party leader accused the Tories of trying to "buy" his support.
And he claimed that a senior Brexit Party official as well as an MEP had been approached about standing as Conservative candidates.
Mr Farage said: "All sorts of baubles have been offered."
On the peerage offer, the former Ukip leader added: "That happened twice, but we are going back a couple of months. They thought the deal was that if I accepted that, we would only fight a few seats.
"That came from two very close sources — one from an adviser and one a minister, not a member of the cabinet, suggesting this was the right thing to do. I said I was not interested."
And he added: "One of my very close colleagues was offered one of the safest Conservative seats in the country yesterday morning. A very senior figure. They rejected it outright. It was a shire counties seat."
A Conservative source dismissed the Brexit Party leader's claims as "unsubstantiated gossip".
Mr Farage's comments meanwhile come amid deep divisions at the top of the Brexit Party over its general election strategy.
The Brexit Party leader on Friday revealed that his new outfit plans to stand against the Conservatives in hundreds of seats unless Boris Johnson abandons his EU withdrawal agreement.
And Mr Farage gave the Prime Minister a two-week deadline to agree a pact or face a battle with his party candidates in every constituency in England, Scotland and Wales.
"Please don't doubt that we are ready," he declared.
But John Longworth, a Brexit Party MEP who co-founded the Leave Means Leave pressure group, has urged the party to instead focus on a small number of marginal seats in a bid to undermine the Tories.
Taking aim at Mr Longworth in his Sunday Times interview, Mr Farage appeared to suggest the Leave Means Leave founder had been sounded out about standing as a Conservative.
"What has happened this week was very interesting and explains the behaviour of one of our MEPs," he said.
Mr Farage said: "He seems to have gone through a personality change. I have no idea why. I did say to him: ‘You’re looking very guilty, John.’ He didn’t like that. John is going through this dramatic personal metamorphosis.”
The latest Opinium/Observer poll meanwhile puts the Brexit Party on just nine percent support, compared to 42% for the Conservatives.
According to the survey, 17% of 2016 Leave voters plan to back Mr Farage's party, while 66% say they will vote for the Tories.
The finding comes despite the newly-formed Brexit Party storming May's European elections, hoovering up 30% of the vote, compared to just 9% for the Conservatives that placed fifth nationally.