Nigel Farage: 'I think I've outplayed and outclassed the Conservative Party'
11 November 2019, 17:59
Nigel Farage has claimed he has "outplayed and outclassed the Conservative Party" on the day he announced his party would be standing aside in seats won by Tories in the last general election.
Speaking to LBC's Eddie Mair, the Brexit Party Leader said he was "perfectly prepared" to fight in 600 constituencies but changed his mind following Boris Johnson's shift in position.
Mr Farage had previously pledged to battle the Tories in as many areas of the country as possible, but earlier changed his election stance and promised to only field candidates in Labour-held constituencies.
The reason for doing so, Mr Farage said, was due to Mr Johnson "unequivocally and clearly" promising to leave the EU by the end of January 2020 as part of his general election campaign.
The second reason was that Mr Johnson said he will negotiate a free trade deal along the lines of a super Canada Plus, which brought the UK closer to "something like Brexit."
Asked if he had been outplayed and outclassed by Mr Johnson, Mr Farage said: "I think I've outplayed and outclassed the conservative party, who under Mrs May were taking us into a horrible cul-de-sac that could never have never resembled Brexit.
"The Brexit Party winning the European elections reset the political agenda. We have a new prime minister, who whilst I was not happy with his deal made some big changes to his position last night."
Responding to Mr Farage's earlier announcement, Mr Johnson has said the Conservative Party welcomes the "recognition that another gridlocked hung Parliament is the greatest threat to getting Brexit done".
"If we have another hung Parliament it would lead to two more chaotic referendums next year," he wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
"The Conservatives only need 9 more seats to win a majority and leave by the end of January with a deal.
"We can then finally move on as a country, and focus on the priorities that matter to you and your family."
Responding to Mr Farage's decision, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson tweeted: "The Conservative Party are the Brexit Party now.
"Naomi Smith, the chief executive of pro-EU campaign group Best for Britain, accused Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage of having "bottled it" and intensified calls for Remainers to vote tactically.
"Farage has bottled it and hung most of his own candidates out to dry," she said.
"But by standing down Brexit Party candidates across the country, it's now more important than ever that Remainers use their votes wisely.
"Our best chance of stopping a nightmarish government delivering a hard and damaging Brexit is voting tactically."