Nigel Farage confirms he will not stand himself at the general election: Brexit News for Monday 4 November

Nigel Farage confirms he will not stand himself at the general election: Brexit News for Monday 4 November
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Nigel Farage confirms he will not stand himself at the general election…

Nigel Farage has confirmed he will not stand for the eighth time to become an MP, insisting he can better serve the Brexit cause by “traversing the length and breadth” of the country. The Brexit Party leader said he did not want to be in “politics for the rest of my life” and that running again would have limited his ability to campaign nationally. Instead, Mr Farage said he would use the freedom of not being tied to a constituency to support the party’s 600 candidates, who are contesting nearly every constituency in Great Britain. It comes after the prominent Eurosceptic claimed on Sunday that he has twice been offered a peerage in a bid to persuade him not to compete with the Conservatives in the general election. He claimed that he and Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice, who was allegedly offered a safe Tory seat, had been tempted with “Christmas baubles” but had rejected them. Mr Farage has now issued an ultimatum to Boris Johnson, warning that he will stand candidates in nearly every seat unless he drops his Brexit deal, which he branded a “massive con”. – Telegraph (£)

> WATCH: Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage’s interview with Andrew Marr

…as Steve Baker warns that Farage risks becoming ‘the man who threw away Brexit’

Nigel Farage risks becoming the “man who threw away Brexit”, the most senior Tory Eurosceptic backbencher has warned, as the Brexit Party leader prepares to unveil his 600 election candidates. In a blistering attack on Mr Farage, Steve Baker, the chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), accused him of “setting out” to create a “weak and indecisive” hung Parliament. The former Brexit minister, who until now remained closely aligned with Mr Farage on Brexit, also condemned his decision not to stand as an MP, saying it showed he was “not serious about governing the country”. Senior Brexit Party figures have expressed concerns Mr Farage has “gone down the wrong path”, The Daily Telegraph has learnt, fearing his approach risks derailing Britain’s attempts to leave the European Union. – Telegraph (£)

Failure to deliver Halloween Brexit causes me ‘deep regret’, says Boris Johnson…

Boris Johnson has claimed he feels “deep regret” over the failure to implement his promise of Brexit by Halloween. The Prime Minister replied “of course, of course” when asked if he will apologise to those Conservative Party members who voted for him as they believed he would deliver the UK’s exit from the EU by October 31. He also said he can see “no reason whatsoever” about why the UK should extend the Brexit transition period beyond December 2020, adding: “If you get the right Parliament anything’s possible. “But what you can do from the beginning is, of course, you can begin negotiating, not just with the EU but with countries around the world, and that’s one of the great opportunities that we have next year.” – ITV News

> WATCH: Boris Johnson’s interview with Sophy Ridge 

…as he says there is no reason for delaying Brexit implementation beyond December 2020… 

Boris Johnson has told Sky News it is a “matter of deep regret” he failed to deliver his promise of Brexit by Halloween as he refused to rule out extending the transition period. But the prime minister said he can see “no reason whatsoever” about why the UK should delay the implementation stage, during which Britain would stick to EU rules while a future trade deal is hammered out, beyond December 2020. Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday, he added: “If you get the right parliament, anything’s possible.” Mr Johnson added that he had an “oven ready” Brexit deal as he warned of “toxic, tedious trauma” under Labour. – Sky News

  • Boris Johnson fudges over Brexit transition period – The Times (£)

…and insists Donald Trump was ‘patently in error’ over criticism of his Brexit deal…

Boris Johnson has insisted Donald Trump was “patently in error” for claiming the current Brexit deal will hinder the UK’s ability to strike a free trade deal with America. In an unprecedented intervention – just 48 hours into the election campaign – the US president cast doubt on a future trading pact, claiming his country “can’t make a deal” under the terms of the withdrawal agreement. Post-Brexit trade with the US is prized by Brexiteers as a major benefit of severing ties with the EU, despite concerns in some quarters that the UK would be forced to deregulate food standards. “We want to do trade with the UK, and they want to do trade with us,” Mr Trump told the Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage during a radio interview on Thursday. But he added: “To be honest with you, this deal, under certain aspects of the deal – and you can’t do it, you can’t do it, you can’t trade. We can’t make a trade deal with the UK.” – Independent

> Shanker Singham on BrexitCentral today: Trump and Farage are wrong – Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal will not hinder a UK-US trade agreement 

…as the US President calls for a Johnson-Farage alliance to safeguard Brexit trade deal

Donald Trump on Sunday urged Boris Johnson and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage to come together to safeguard prospects for expanded US-UK trade after Britain leaves the European Union. The US president told reporters at the White House that both men were friends of his, but Mr Johnson was “the right man for the time.” Mr Farage on Sunday said he would not run for a seat in parliament in Britain’s snap Dec. 12 election, focusing instead on campaigning against Mr Johnson’s EU divorce deal. The election was called because of an impasse in parliament over Brexit, more than three years after voters decided to leave the bloc. Asked which UK leader he supported, Mr Trump said: “I like them both. I think Boris will get it right. They’re both friends of mine. What I’d like to see is for Nigel and Boris to come together. I think that’s a possibility.” Mr Trump said Britain’s exit from the EU must be structured to facilitate continued trade between Britain and the United States. “We’re far and away the No.1 economy in the world, and if you do it a certain way we’re prohibited from trading with the UK,” he said. “That would be very bad for the UK, because we can do much more business (than the) European Union.” – Telegraph (£)

Obey me on Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn warns shadow cabinet dissenters…

Jeremy Corbyn has told his fractious shadow cabinet “the debate is over” on Brexit, as he seeks to stamp his authority on the general election campaign and shift the focus to social justice and the climate emergency. Speaking to the Guardian in the south-west London seat of Putney, the Labour leader claimed he had instructed frontbench colleagues to fall into line, after divisions over Brexit sparked a furious row over whether to go for an election. “I just said, ‘look, this debate is now over. We’ve done it, the party has now made its decision, and that’s it; and that’s what we’re going to campaign on’,” he said, describing last week’s shadow cabinet meeting. Speaking after a campaign visit to a social housing development, an uncharacteristically assertive Corbyn also said he had made a unilateral decision to back Boris Johnson’s plan to trigger a 12 December general election – despite the vocal objections of several colleagues, including Labour’s chief whip, Nick Brown. “I put it to them quite clearly: I said, our objections are now gone. We are now supporting a general election – and everybody gulped. I didn’t alert anybody in advance – it was my decision. On my own. I made that decision. And they gulped, and said, Yes Jeremy.” – Guardian

…as Labour frontbench Brexit splits re-emerge with shadow minister Rebecca Long-Bailey saying she could campaign for Leave

Divisions within the Labour over its Brexit stance deepened on Sunday after a prominent Shadow Cabinet member said the party may campaign to leave the EU should it secure a strong new Brexit deal from Brussels. Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said a decision would be made on how the party will campaign after a deal is struck. This is despite her colleague Diane Abbott stating last week she would campaign to remain regardless of the Brexit agreement negotiated with the EU. It comes after Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Dawn Butler revealed she appears in her election leaflets dressed as the European Union flag. Ms Long-Bailey said the party would campaign to leave if the party membership decides to back the Brexit deal during a special conference. “We will make an assessment of the deal at the time. We will try and get the best that we possibly can.” – iNews

> WATCH: Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey’s interview with Sophy Ridge

Jeremy Corbyn and the Remain allotment plot ‘thwarted by Seumas Milne’

Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and John McDonnell secretly met at the leader’s allotment and agreed to turn Labour into a Remain party, a new investigation claims. The “allotment plot” this summer was sabotaged by Seumas Milne, Mr Corbyn’s director of strategy and communications, a seasoned Eurosceptic, according to Channel 4’s Dispatches. Mr Milne is portrayed in tonight’s TV investigation as an opponent of western imperialism, so far outside Labour’s mainstream that the only time he has supported British foreign policy since the Second World War may have been during a 1999 crisis in the Indonesian rebel province of East Timor. A Labour Party spokesman said: “The Dispatches claim is denied by the Labour Party, as the programme will make clear.” Mr McDonnell and Ms Abbott, the two closest and longest-serving parliamentary allies of the Labour leader, told him that they needed a serious chat away from Westminster. They met at his vegetable patch in East Finchley, north London, where the three agreed that the party would move to an unequivocal Remain position and Mr Corbyn would write an article saying just that. The piece was written but at the last minute Mr Milne persuaded Mr Corbyn, MP for Islington North, not to go ahead with it, according to several anonymous sources, Dispatches claims. – The Times (£)

Treasury Minister refuses to rule out dramatic No Deal manifesto pledge

A senior cabinet minister has refused to rule out a no deal Brexit being on the table as part of the Tories election manifesto, following bitter clashes between Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. Senior Treasury minster Rishi Sunak repeatedly refused to rule out leaving the EU without a deal, following days of confusion over the Government’s policy. Earlier this week, the outgoing Culture Secretary Nicki Morgan said that that a no deal Brexit “has been effectively been taken off the table”. Boris Johnson also rejected calls from Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage to rip up his deal and walk away from the EU without an agreement. However, Mr Sunak’s remarks marked a shift in the Government’s policy, amid speculation over the Conservative manifesto for the upcoming General Election. – Express

> WATCH: Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak discusses Brexit with Andrew Marr 

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson admits electoral pact plot as rumours swirl that ‘Remain Alliance’ could target 60 seats…

The ‘Remain Alliance’ could target dozens of seats across the UK in an all-out bid to block Boris Johnson and Brexit. Talks have been under way between the unashamedly pro-EU Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens maximise their chances in key constituencies in the December 12 election. The pact would see two of the three parties stand aside to favour the one with the best chance of victory – replicating the success in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election. In an interview, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson disputed claims the Remain Alliance could involve a pact across 60 seats. ‘The specifics of announcements will be made in due course but it’s well understood that these discussions have been taking place,’ she told Sky’s Ridge on Sunday. ‘I wouldn’t necessarily assume that the numbers are accurate. I think it’s fair to say that in the vast majority of constituencies the party of Remain that is going to be best-placed to win that seat will be the Liberal Democrats.’ – MailOnline

> WATCH: Lib Dem Leader Jo Swinson’s interview with Sophy Ridge

…while the troubled People’s Vote campaign plots to use £1m war chest to back pro-EU candidates

The troubled People’s Vote campaign is to begin spending a £1m election war chest this week despite a continuing internal feud in part about whether it should back more Labour candidates. More than half of the anti-Brexit campaign’s staff are still on strike after its chairman, Roland Rudd, sacked its chief executive, James McGrory, and its director of communications, Tom Baldwin, over strategy. The campaign is, however, ploughing on with its attempt to influence the election by backing dozens of pro-EU MPs with thousand of pounds worth of funding. Despite its well-publicised infighting, the campaign says it has received £200,000 in donations in the last two days. The first recipient is set to be the former attorney general, Dominic Grieve, who is standing as an independent in his Beaconsfield constituency following his expulsion from the Conservative party over Brexit. The campaign’s official tactical voting recommendations are also due to be published this week. – Guardian

Martin Howe: No, Mr Farage, Boris Johnson’s deal is not ‘Brexit In Name Only’

Nigel Farage has launched his Brexit party to fight in all constituencies in Great Britain because, he claims, Boris Johnson’s deal with the EU is “Brexit In Name Only” (BRINO). I have been one of the fiercest and most persistent critics of Theresa May’s deal, based on detailed study of its 585 pages of Articles, Protocols and Annexes. It was undoubtedly BRINO. It would have destroyed all the key benefits of Brexit by subjecting us for the long term — and without a veto or vote, or an exit clause — to EU laws over wide areas, and ended any realistic possibility of the UK forging a future independent trade policy. If Boris Johnson’s deal were still BRINO, then I would unhesitatingly say so. But it is not. My own preference would be for us all to get into a time machine and travel back to 2016, avoid the disastrous May premiership and instead have a competent and determined PM conduct the negotiations with the EU. The enormous strides which Boris Johnson has made in changing a supposedly “unreopenable” deal in a few short months demonstrate that we could have got a wholly different and much better deal. But we must deal with the world as it is rather than the world as we would like it to be. This is something that Nigel Farage should bear in mind now. Nigel, you have spent a long time fighting the EU as a guerilla in the mountains. It is now time for you and your Party to come down from the mountains and lend your strength to Boris’s Conservative army to bring us together to ultimate victory in this war for our freedom. – Martin Howe for the Telegraph (£)

Ed Barker: The people of my constituency deserve an MP who shares their vision – not the Brexit-blocking Margaret Beckett

The contest between Boris’ Conservatives and Corbyn’s Labour is a battle between the people and the establishment, between hope and fear, between democracy and more delay. And I’m honoured to be the new Conservative candidate for Derby South leading that fight against Labour’s Brexit-blocking Dame Margaret Beckett. Derby and its people have been at the forefront of industrial innovation for over three hundred years.  At the city’s heart is Infinity Park, a flourishing 100-acre hub, bustling with innovation, technology and enterprise – Britain’s own Silicon Valley. Right next door are the world headquarters of industrial giants like Rolls-Royce, Toyota, Bombardier and JCB. These businesses are already attracting investment, exporting, supercharging the local economy and bolstering the UK’s status as a global industrial powerhouse.  But they are poised to do so much more once the current Brexit paralysis is behind us. I am a passionate believer in the bright future this country has outside the EU. We will be able to choose how we spend our money, whether on domestic priorities or on British priorities overseas. We will once again have control over our immigration rules, so that we can attract the brightest and the best rather than discriminating against those who come from outside the EU.  And we will at last be free to do trade deals with the fastest growing and most dynamic economies in the world. But delivering Brexit is about something even more fundamental. It is now about restoring faith in our democracy. 17.4 million people voted to leave the EU over three years ago. It was the biggest act of democracy our nation has ever seen, with more people voting to leave the EU than for anything in our history. If our democratic institutions are to regain any credibility, we must get Brexit over the line. – Ed Barker for the Telegraph (£)

John Curtice: The crucial election question – can Remainers agree to vote tactically?

Boris Johnson gave an interesting answer when it was put to him that there was a risk of a split in the Leave vote if he did not take up Nigel Farage’s offer of an electoral deal. The prime minister argued that he could not contemplate any such arrangement because a vote for any other party would risk letting Jeremy Corbyn in. However, that could happen only if Conservative and Brexit Party candidates were to stand against each other. Mr Johnson’s reply seemed to support the case for reaching an understanding with Mr Farage rather than providing a reason for not doing so. Meanwhile, those on the other side of the Brexit divide have launched a website that claims to provide the best advice as to how those who oppose Brexit should vote in order to defeat the Conservatives locally. Both developments illustrate a crucial feature of this election. Both Remain and Leave voters have a choice about how to express their views. And thanks to the ruthless logic of the first-past-the-post electoral system a vote for, say, a poorly placed pro-Remain candidate could allow a pro-Leave candidate to win — and to do so on much less than half the vote. The result will depend on which bloc of voters proves to be the more cohesive. – Professor Sir John Curtice for The Times (£)

The Sun: Nigel Farage’s election stance is increasingly untenable so it is time he swallows his pride

Nigel Farage’s election stance looks increasingly untenable. He knows his Brexit Party is unlikely to win any seats in the General Election. He doesn’t even back himself to become an MP — at the eighth attempt — and announced he was ducking the opportunity to stand. Yet he says he remains determined to field 600 candidates across the country. He knows the very real danger is that those candidates could take votes away from the Conservatives in Leave- supporting constituencies, opening the door to No. 10 for Jeremy Corbyn. The irony of the Brexit Party helping to kill Brexit is not lost on Farage’s previous Leave allies. Arron Banks, founder of Leave.EU, sees that Leave voters overwhelmingly back Boris Johnson and fears delaying Brexit further may mean “it will never happen”. In a tetchy TV performance Farage said that in deciding not to stand for election, he asked himself: “How do I serve the cause of Brexit best?” The answer, Nigel, is not to split the Tory vote and not to endanger the best chance of ending the Brexit paralysis Corbyn and the shabby Remain alliance have deadlocked us into. Swallow your pride and think again. – The Sun says

Brexit in Brief

  • Jeremy Corbyn should worry that Boris Johnson is winning over Labour Leave voters – John Rentoul for the Independent
  • Spectre of a federal Europe lurks behind this extraordinary attack on Brexiteers – Lee Rotherham for the Telegraph (£)
  • There’s nothing conservative about leaving the Tory party, even if you did vote Remain – Tim Stanley for the Telegraph (£)