In an email to supporters, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has outlined “a big challenge on our hands to clear out the Remainer Parliament and win a majority for Brexit” and targeted Labour Leave contenders in the snap election, expected to take place on 12 December, the British media reported.
“Important. Please all go DARK on social media. DO NOT respond to any questions about where we [are] standing, what the strategy or plan is from now on. Things will be made clear… very soon”, the call to Brexit Party candidates, cited by the Financial Times, said.
The Brexit Party is for leaving the EU with or without a deal, and on Friday is scheduled to announce where its candidates will compete.
Brexit Party Split Over Challenging Tories
The launch event is reportedly being preceded by debates within the party on challenging hundreds of seats across the country. While Farage vowed that more than 600 candidates will contest every seat, some, namely, MEP John Longworth insisted that the Brexit Party should target Brexit and Labour-oriented areas. Party donor and founder of the Leave.EU campaign Arron Banks is also for a tactical approach.
“It’s not as simple as whether the Brexit Party should stand down across the whole country… the national polls say one thing, but there is a different dynamic in each seat that has to be considered. If Nigel takes a tactical, pragmatic approach on where to run to help deliver Brexit he’ll be rewarded by voters”, Banks told FT.
And, as the Daily Mail points out, Farage’s message could signal that Brexiteers will refuse to target Tory Eurosceptics.
Olive Branch for Sake of Brexit
The party has been split over recent events, especially with regard to a proposed electoral deal that has since been rejected by the Conservatives. Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice earlier said that Boris Johnson would be able to win a “thumping majority” if the Conservative Party and Brexiteers secured an electoral pact. Speaking to the BBC, Tice noted that Brexit Party candidates would be urged to step aside in Conservative seats if Johnson promised to deliver a clear "no-deal" Brexit.
Nigel Farage, who slammed Johnson’s recently renegotiated deal with the EU, did not rule out the possibility of a last-minute pact with the Conservative Party, as well.
“I just don’t know but I think if he [Boris] is going to fight the general election on the basis of that treaty then I think as a Leaver it is very difficult. We will see what happens. I am not ruling anything in, not ruling anything out”, he tweeted.
Electoral Pact Rejected
But even Conservative MP and chair of the Eurosceptic European Research Group Steve Baker, who advocated cooperation, has rejected earlier calls to conclude a pact with Nigel Farage’s party, spurning the Brexit Party’s suggestion to pursue a no-deal Brexit together.
“A pre-Brexit pact with the Brexit Party won’t happen all the time Nigel Farage insists the Conservatives pursue no deal, which won’t happen", Baker said as quoted by the Daily Star.
However, according to the Daily Mail, the Brexit Party chairman is receiving texts with entreaties from some Conservative MPs asking Farage’s candidates not to challenge their seats.