Ditched Brexit Party candidates to stand as independents
Two election candidates who were dropped by the Brexit Party are to stand as independents in a show of defiance towards Nigel Farage.
John Cross was due to stand in Halesowen and Rowley Regis and Aaron Hudson in Stourbridge before Mr Farage announced his party would not contest seats held by the Conservatives, fearful of splitting the Brexit vote and boosting Jeremy Corbyn's chances.
The pair were among dozens of candidates gearing up to represent the Brexit Party left disappointed.
Mr Cross said he believed the decision meant people living in Tory-held constituencies have been denied the chance to vote for a no-deal Brexit at the general election. It means the Conservative candidates in both seats could face a battle to win over pro-Brexit voters.
Both are now standing as independents and Mr Cross said he would be championing a no-deal Brexit, and making clear his ties to Mr Farage's party.
The 58-year-old from Halesowen, who will be taking on Tory incumbent James Morris, said: "We will be standing an independent Brexiteers. We are not constrained by the party so we can speak out about what we want on Brexit."
It comes after many former Brexit Party candidates were left furious at being stood down and having to cancel their campaigning preparations.
Mr Cross said: "I pretty much speak for everybody. We are all in agreement. We are all very disappointed we cannot stand and give people a choice to go ahead wit no-deal. Many people haven't now got that choice."
Meanwhile Mr Farage today confirmed that he will not stand down any more candidates to help the Tories win a majority.
Mr Farage added that, if the Conservatives “showed some reciprocity”, more Brexit Party supporters would be likely to support the Tories in the 317 seats in which Brexit Party candidates will not be sitting.
He also accused Boris Johnson’s party of only caring about getting a Conservative majority in Parliament, and not about securing a pro-Leave majority.