Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage announced that he would stand down 317 of the party’s candidates in Tory-held seats.
It comes after US president Donald Trump repeatedly said that Farage should “get together” with Boris Johnson for the election.
Farage said his aim was to block a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union (EU). “We now have a Leave alliance,” Farage declared on Monday. “We have to put country before party and take the fight to Labour.”
In an email to party supporters Farage unveiled his “plan to defeat Corbyn’s Labour”.
“There are millions of traditional Labour voters waiting for a party that is on their side,” he said. “We have to start making Corbyn’s Labour pay for their betrayal of Brexit.”
The pact between the right wing parties hasn’t stopped all the wrangling. Within hours Farage was demanding that the Tories stand down candidates in Labour-held seats to boost the Brexit Party.
And right wing papers called on Farage to withdraw Brexit Party candidates standing in Tory target seats.
But Farage’s move is a huge boost to the Tories. And there’s a real threat that the Brexit Party will capitalise on frustration with Labour’s dithering over its position on Brexit.
The Tories have so far run a muted campaign. They are ahead in every opinion poll. So it may be that their strategy is to lie low and avoid doing anything that could hurt their ratings.
Still, Boris Johnson has managed to be generally reactionary. He used Remembrance Day to talk up the British Army.
Johnson also said he would end the “witch hunt” against British troops who murdered people in Northern Ireland. He wants to change the Human Rights Act so that it doesn’t apply to any incidents prior to October 2000. This would protect ex-troops from investigation.
At the same time the Tories now claim to care about services they have spent the past decade trashing.
So Johnson said the Tories would recruit 6,000 more doctors to cut waiting times.
Virtually the same promise was made by then health secretary Jeremy Hunt a year ago—and nothing happened.
Instead GP numbers are falling for the first time since the 1960s.
Johnson has done the usual visits to workplaces and neighbourhoods, trying to appear interested in ordinary people’s lives.
But he hasn’t gone unchallenged. Protesters gathered at short notice to demonstrate at the Tory election campaign launch in Birmingham last week. And there was outrage after Johnson declared that the floods sweeping swathes of Britain didn’t amount to a national emergency.
No one can trust the Tories. And their real agenda—to advance the interests of the rich and powerful at our expense—is never far below the surface.
But the Tories won the 2017 general election while mired in crisis over Brexit and despite years of brutal austerity. We need more resistance to drive them out.
The reactionary Remainers
The Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party have declared they will “Unite to Remain” in the upcoming election.
The parties have stood aside for each other in 60 seats to give voters one “remain choice” at the ballot box.
The campaign is led by Heidi Allen—a recently resigned MP who was variously a member of Tories, Change UK and the Lib Dems.
She called the vote “the deciding movement” in the battle to stay in the European Union.
“With a single remain candidate in each of these seats, we can deliver a greater number of MPs into parliament,” said Allen.
The Lib Dems will stand in 43 seats across England and Wales with no competition from the other two parties.
It’s a disgrace that the Green and Plaid Cymru—who claim to offer radical change—are in an alliance with the reactionary Liberal Democrats.
They are saying that halting Brexit matters more than all the other issues of austerity, racism and climate change.
The last time the Lib Dems attempted to work alongside others it was to enforce brutal austerity as part of its coalition with the Tories.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell blasted “those getting into bed with the Lib Dems.”
“I remember what the Lib Dems did when they were in government,” he said “I say, go and ask any disabled person in this country who went through the brutality of the work capability assessment.”