Tory Eurosceptic Steve Baker tells Nigel Farage he risks 'throwing away Brexit' over election plan

Posted On: 
4th November 2019

Top Tory eurosceptic Steve Baker has warned Nigel Farage that he risks becoming "the man who threw away Brexit" over his opposition to Boris Johnson's EU deal.

Nigel Farage (pictured) came under fire from European Research Group chairman Steve Baker.
Credit: 
PA

The European Research Group chair said the former Ukip boss was wrong to stand hundreds of Brexit Party candidates in next month's election.

He said that increased the chances of a hung Parliament and could put Brexit at risk.

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Mr Baker meanwhile described himself as "flabbergasted" by Mr Farage's decision not to mount an eighth bid to become an MP.

The Brexit Party leader has branded the Withdrawal Agreement the Prime Minister struck with the EU last month a "gigantic con", and insisted the UK should instead leave the bloc without a deal.

He has given Mr Johnson two weeks to abandon his deal or face a challenge from the Brexit Party in every seat in England, Wales and Scotland.

But Mr Baker told The Telegraph: "Whilst there are some compromises people like me have to swallow, Boris’s deal is a path to a great future.

"But we will not succeed if Nigel Farage creates a hung parliament by dogmatically pursuing purity."

He said Mr Farage risked "being the man who hands Boris a weak and indecisive Parliament" by splitting the pro-Leave vote on 12 December.

And he added: "Whatever Nigel’s motives, he risks being the man who threw away Brexit."

Mr Farage announced on Sunday that he would not stand for election in the upcoming poll, instead arguing that he would better "serve the cause" of leaving the EU by campaigning "across the United Kingdom" instead of being focused on one seat.

But Mr Baker said that if Mr Farage was "serious about getting us out of the EU he would stand for Parliament".

And he added: "I am flabbergasted he is not standing."

Jeremy Corbyn also took a swipe at Mr Farage over the confirmation he would not run for election.

The Labour leader said: "It’s a bit weird to lead a political party that is apparently contesting all or most of the seats up in the election and he himself is not offering himself for election.

"He’s obviously very comfortable on his MEP’s salary."

The attacks on Mr Farage come after he claimed that he had twice been offered a peerage by the Conservatives in an effort to get the Brexit Party to step aside in key seats.

The former Ukip leader has been urging the Tories to consider a pact with his party, but Boris Johnson has ruled out any form of electoral alliance with the fledgling party, which topped the European elections in May.

The Prime Minister on Sunday argued that a vote for the Brexit Party would make a Parliament featuring "a chaotic constellation of other parties" more likely.