ANALYSIS: Nigel Farage’s humiliation may not deliver his intended result

Posted On: 
11th November 2019

Take anything Nigel Farage tells you with a mountain of salt.

Nigel Farage has pledged not to stand Brexit Party candidates in Tory-held seats.
Credit: 
PA Images

We know this because last week, he declared that the Brexit Party would stand candidates in every seat in England and Wales unless Boris Johnson dumped his Withdrawal Agreement.

And yet, despite the Prime Minister refusing to budge, Farage has now confirmed that the party he leads will not contest the 317 seats the Tories won in 2017.

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Desperately trying to present this humiliating U-turn as a positive, Farage claimed that this magnanimous gesture guaranteed the death of the People's Vote dream.

"I think our action prevents a second referendum from happening and that to me is the single most important thing in our country," he told supporters in Hartlepool.

This is where that mountain of salt comes in.

Because if Farage was truly serious about helping to get Johnson back to Number 10, he would also be ordering his troops to stand aside in a swathe of Labour-heald seats which the Tories must win in order to get a majority.

Chris Curtis, YouGov's political research manager, said: "Whilst this will help them in the seats they currently hold, the Brexit Party will still be standing in the seats the Conservative Party hopes to gain from Labour in order to gain a majority.

"The most important swing to look at in the polls is the swing between Labour and the Conservatives. Despite a move away from two party politics since the last election, it is still the case that most marginal seats are Labour / Conservative battles and this is the most important dynamic in deciding who will be celebrating Christmas in 10 Downing Street.

"On current polling we have seen around a 4% swing from Labour to the Conservatives, which would mean the Tories gaining a large chunk of seats off Labour, potentially in places like Barrow and Furness, Great Grimsby, Workington, Bridgend, Gower, and Stoke-on-Trent Central, whilst Labour will win few, if any, seats from the Conservatives.

"Given this, Farage’s decision to stand aside in current Conservative-held seats and not in Labour-held seats that the Tories will be looking to gain will likely make very little difference."

By standing against the Tories in the above seats, the Brexit Party risks splitting the Leave vote, allowing Labour to come through the middle and denying Boris Johnson the majority he craves.

How ironic would it be if, having cashed in what was left of his political capital, Farage still ended up killing off the Brexit dream?