Farage Backs Down, Won't Field Candidates in Tory-Held Seats


Nigel Farage will not field Brexit candidates in any districts won by the Tories in 2017. What's it mean?

Unilaterally Backed Down

After making numerous threats and demands, Nigel Farage unilaterally backed down in 317 constituencies won by the Tory Party in 2017.

It was a huge climb down given Boris Johnson offered nothing in return.

Yesterday, in Johnson and Farage In Secret Deal? Who Forced Whom? I commented "Today's video allows Farage to save face. Farage can claim he got Johnson to bend even if he didn't."

The video is one in which Johnson strongly emphasized that he would not extend the transition period beyond 2020. But that is the same thing he has said all along. By emphasizing that position at precisely the right time, he may have helped Farage climb down.

Leave Split Reduced

Thatcherism on Steroids

The UK could use Thatcherism on steroids. Alas, this isn't.

Trump Alliance Silliness

Via the Guardian Live, Jeremy Corbyn says Farage's Plan to Stand Aside in Tory Seats Amounts to 'Trump Alliance'.

Guardian Live Take

This is undoubtedly the best news that Boris Johnson has had during the election campaign so far. It doesn’t mean that the result of the election is now a foregone conclusion, and it does not mean that a hung parliament is now impossible, as Nigel Farage claimed, but the result of an election in which the Brexit party is not standing in Tory seats will probably not be the same as an election in which it was splitting the Brexit vote in those constituencies.

Minor Victory

This is not a major victory even if it is the "best news" of the Tory campaign so far.

Support for the Brexity Party had already been falling like a rock. Consider my stats posted yesterday.

Declining Brexit Party Support

  • 4 Poll Average Since Parliament Dissolved: 7.5%
  • 11 Poll Average Between Elections Authorized and Dissolution: 10.4%
  • 6 Poll Average Before Election Decision: 10.5%
  • Go back to Mid-September (not shown) and the average was 13%

Another poll came out today. The Brexit Party 5-poll average since Parliament dissolved is 7.8%.

It will now head to 4% or less.

Farage Announces Leave Alliance

"I have got no great love for the Conservative party at all. But I can see right now that by giving Boris half a chance, by keeping him honest and holding him to account by getting people in, and by stopping the fanatics in the Liberal Democrats who’d sign us up to everything, wouldn’t they, the United States of Europe, European army, you name it, I mean they even want to revoke the result of the referendum. No, I think our action, this announcement today prevents a second referendum from happening and that to me I think right now is the single most important thing in our country."

"So in a sense, we now have a leave alliance. It’s just that we’ve done it unilaterally. We’ve decided ourselves that we absolutely have to put country before party and take the fight to Labour."

Further Retreat?

Farage has now accepted that Johnson’s deal is acceptable, and that a Johnson majority government would be preferable to a hung parliament, it is hard to see the logic of his stance. It remains to be seen if a further retreat is coming. Thursday is the deadline when candidates must decide whether they are or are not standing in constituencies.

I would like to see Farage pull back in other seats as well.

You-Gov Analysis via Guardian Live

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. There are three caveats to this. Firstly, whilst there has been a swing towards the Tories in their battle against Labour, the increase in Lib Dem and SNP vote share means that there is likely to be a swing against them in seats where they are battling against those parties. However, there are not as many of these seats as there are Labour/Conservative marginals, and most of them will be the kind of places where the Brexit party wouldn’t have won many votes anyway, such as in Scotland or more remain-leaning seats in the south.

Secondly, it does help mitigate against the effects of a surge in support for Labour during this campaign. If the Labour vote share does start to recover, in the same way it did in 2017, this will make it more difficult for the party to start gaining seats from the Tories. However, on current polling it will take quite a turnaround of Jeremy Corbyn’s fortunes in order to reach this point.

Finally, whilst the practical effect might be quite small, we don’t know what effect Farage’s message might have on the broader perceptions of the parties. It could be that even in seats where the Brexit party are standing, voters that might otherwise have supported the party now feel more comfortable voting Conservative after Farage’s comments.

However, given the Brexit party was already trending downwards in the polls, it looked like this was happening already. So, despite today’s drama, this is unlikely to be a game-changing moment.

UK Election Projection

That final YouGov paragraph above is precisely the point I made yesterday.

Farage's decision to stand aside in 317 constituencies will deliver anywhere from zero to six additional seats.

It is possible those six seats matter, but it also possible they are a mirage and that Farage's announcement did nothing at all but speed up the decline in Brexit Party support that was going to happen anyway.

Meanwhile, I see absolutely no reason to change my UK Election Projection: Tories win 351 seats.

Election in 4 weeks + 1 Day.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (30)
No. 1-14

Good news indeed, Brexit has a fighting chance now. Another hung parliament or a labor/lib Dems victory, God forbid, would mean that Brexit is finished.


For his support of head-chopping jihadists there, Boris Johnson belongs in a Syrian prison , not in #10 Downing St.

I'd rather see Brexit fail and Corbyn as PM. At least Corbyn says Assange shouldn't extradited.

For the same reasons, I'd prefer Tulsi Gabbard as president of the US.

I support capitalism because it is based on individual (liberty and private property) rights. Bombing people because you don't like their leader, is not respect for their rights.



"I support capitalism ..."

Anyone who supports capitalism but also would prefer Corbyn to Johnson has serious brain damage


Well it looks like a complete capitulation to me. But Farage is saying ‘I am making this gesture because OVER THE PAST FEW HOURS Boris has made it quite clear that there is to be no political alliance (with the EU), there will be no extension beyond 2020 and that we are to pursue a Canada style agreement’. Personally I have doubts that he had the funds to back 650 candidates and that was his real motive. Basically it comes across to me as a monumental cock-up, but plenty of people seem to be applauding him as the saviour of Brexit. Not sure history will see it as one of his glory moments.

Deep Purple
Deep Purple

Farage plays the blame game with the Tories. Dramatic unilateral concessions are an effective method to show that he is a credible and compassionate Brexiteer. Unlike the Tories who won't give anything in return. He can go down to the 50 or 60 critical seats and still defeat Johnson's strategy. Of course, it also depends on the other side. If Labour is unable to do a decent campaign, then Farage is toast.

If I see it right, then we are looking at a tactical Corbyn-Farage cooperation. BoJo joined forces with Remainers to get this election. Now they must handle the coordinated moves of the other two players. When Corbyn and Farage attack each other, they help each other every time. And there is no reason to stop it.


Some how, some way, the EU will keep their yoke on Britain. Nothing meaningful will ever happen with Brexit.


I think, in the end, Farage will stand down in all but least conservative seats. He sees what the strategy of Remain, and won't help them, even if it means he has to give up on no deal Brexit.


Yep. However, if the Brexit party wins a critical number of seats to put the Tories in the drivers seat, the Brexit treaty will be more favorable. The greater number of seats, the more sovereignty the UK retains. A “clean break Brexit” is DOA unfortunately for the UK.


Maybe the ERG have convinced Nigel that Boris's ultimate aim could actually work. Too early for Boris to admit it yet but consider this scenario (warning - lots of ifs and buts and maybes!)

  1. Boris wins reasonable majority and UK leaves end Jan 2020 with initialTransition Period to end 2020.
  2. Boris ignores summer deadline to request extension to Transition.
  3. Autumn 2020 becomes obvious FTA will not be completed by end 2020.
  4. UK/EU agree WTO Clause 24 arrangement. Can only be implemented if trade negotiations already underway.
  5. End 2020, UK fully leaves EU with temporary Clause 24 deal (can be up to 10 years) which permits WTO members to trade on existing terms during FTA negotiations. No monthly "membership fee". UK now trades with rest of world under WTO and free to negotiate Trade Deals. Most of Yellowhammer problems resolved by WA agreed Jan 2020. Up to 10 years trade with EU on existing terms whilst FTA sorted. Clean Break Brexit without the "Cliff Edge". What's not to like?

Well, fancy this person turning up and poking her unwelcome face into somebody else’s business. Should this constitute “unwelcome interference into the UK election by the USA?”. She never gives up, does she?

Hillary Clinton: 'Shameful' not to publish Russia report https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50382668


Question for the Board: Won't this alliance allow the Tories to redeploy resources from defending the seats they hold (safer without a Brexit candidate to split their vote) and to focus those resources on competitive seats they hope to gain? The betting markets seem to have marked Labour down significantly on the news.


I think a lot of people are going to be surprised when they find that many people in current Labour seats are brexit first, luke warm, working class socialism a distant second.

Voting Tory is anathama to these people, they have none of the faux middle class aspirations that Thatcher tried to appeal to. Moreover, Corbyn, with his metropolitan marxism offers nothing tangible to those of us in the north.

Farage offers something other than a Labour vote for the anti-Tories to gravitate toward. Looking at the list of the most at risk "remainer" held consitiuencies, I'll wager that they'll easily scoop up 30-50 seats.