In Depth

What a Tory-Farage pact would mean for a snap general election

Brexit Party leader is willing to ‘do a deal with the devil to get a proper Brexit’

Nigel Farage is in “secret talks” with Tory party donors about a pact for a snap general election, it has been reported.

The Daily Telegraph claims the Conservatives might offer not to stand candidates against Farage’s Brexit Party in dozens of seats, in a bid to ensure the UK leaves the European Union by the end of October.

So how would this work?

“Under the idea, the Brexit Party could agree not to stand against Tory Brexiteer candidates, while the Tories would not fight Metropolitan Labour seats in the north of England where the Brexit Party is strong,” reports the Telegraph.

The newspaper says there is growing speculation that Theresa May’s replacement will call a snap election in a bid to bring in new MPs who want to leave the EU by the 31 October deadline.

However, the latest YouGov poll for The Sunday Times puts Farage’s party in first place on 24%, three points ahead of the Tories and Labour should an election be called.

Some Tories hope that a pact with Farage might prevent Conservative MPs from defecting to the Brexit Party and limit the impact of Farage’s group on the ruling party’s vote share.

Will Farage and the next Tory leader agree?

In the wake of the European elections - when the Brexit Party topped the polls in every country or region in which it stood apart from London and Scotland - Farage ruled out an electoral pact with a future Conservative leader “because he said he couldn’t believe their promises on delivering Brexit”, according to The Times.

He confirmed to the Telegraph this week that he had been approached about a tie-up but said his party was still “gearing up as an organisation to fight every seat in the country” unless he could trust the next leader to “deliver a genuine Brexit”.

On his LBC radio show last week, Farage said: “I would do a deal with the devil to get a proper Brexit.”

Johnny Leavesley, head of the Midlands Industrial Council, the Conservatives’ biggest donor group, insists the next PM “needs to be willing to work with Farage”.

“A Brexit-Conservative Pact might lose the Tories much of their liberal-wing, but it would give clarity over Brexit and be the key to enough popularity to save them,” he said.

But James Cleverly, who dropped out of the Tory leader race and now backs Johnson, said he could not see a pact as “something he would want to do”.

 Cleverly told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Johnson “is able to win elections with Conservatives and Conservative support. He didn’t breach electoral pacts in London and I can’t imagine he would need to breach electoral pacts at this point.”

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