General election 2019: Farage calls on Tories to stand aside for Brexit Party

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Nigel Farage has insisted he will stand candidates in Labour-held marginal seats, despite coming under pressure from the Conservatives to step aside.

The Brexit Party leader announced on Monday that his candidates will not run in seats won by the Tories at the 2017 general election.

He told ITV his candidates would contest Labour seats as they had “turned [their] back on Brexit”.

But Tory Chairman James Cleverly warned the plan posed a “danger” to the party.

The Brexit Party had planned to run candidates in more than 600 seats after Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected the offer from its leader for a “Leave alliance” to deliver Brexit.

But facing pressure from his own party – as well as the Conservatives – not to divide Brexit-backing voters, Mr Farage confirmed his candidates would not stand in the 317 seats won by the Tories at the last election.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I made a big, generous offer to the Conservative Party yesterday [Monday]. I gifted them a couple of dozen seats.

“If they wanted a proper Brexit, they would reciprocate.”

But Mr Farage said the Tories “care more about winning the election than getting a proper Brexit majority in Parliament”, adding: “That’s disappointing.”

‘Different set of circumstances’

The Brexit Party leader said the seats where the party was standing down were in areas that the Conservatives were facing “huge pressure” from the Liberal Democrats, and his actions would stop a further referendum on Brexit becoming a reality.

But in seats in the north of England and the Midlands – which the Tories are targeting – it was “a very different set of circumstances” and his party would “take more Labour votes” than Conservative.

“I have given more ground than anyone you have ever spoken to in the interest of putting country before party,” said Mr Farage.

“I have given that ground now and I am clear we will fight against Labour and the Remainers in Parliament.”

But Mr Cleverly told BBC Politics Live on Monday that Mr Farage’s Party could split the vote in the Conservative target seats, leading to the election of MPs who could “frustrate” Brexit.

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