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'My Brexit deal is ready to go': Boris Johnson reacts to Farage's pledge in Wolverhampton

By Peter Madeley | Wolverhampton | General Election 2019 | Published:

Boris Johnson was in Wolverhampton as he responded to Nigel Farage's announcement that the Brexit Party has stood down more than 300 candidates in seats held by the Tories from the last general election.

Boris Johnson at the Express & Star offices in Wolverhampton

The Prime Minister was visiting the Express & Star's offices in Wolverhampton when news broke that Mr Farage now plans to focus his party's efforts on Labour-held seats.

The Brexit Party will not be standing candidates in constituencies including Walsall North, Dudley South, Stourbridge and South Staffordshire, marking a major climbdown for Mr Farage, who last week said his party was putting forward 600 candidates.

WATCH: PM in Wolverhampton for Armistice Day

Boris Johnson attends Remembrance Day service in Wolverhampton

After being told of the announcement by the Express & Star, Mr Johnson said: "Let's see what the implications are. The crucial thing is that it is only by voting Conservative will Brexit be delivered.

"A vote for any other party means there is a risk that we simply won't get Brexit done. You vote for anyone else and you get a Corbyn-Sturgeon alliance that will be catastrophic for the country.

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Mr Johnson meets some of the locals in Wolverhampton

"To get it over the line we [the Conservatives] need a working majority, which means we need nine more seats than we have now.

"This is a very good deal we have done and it is ready to go."

Mr Johnson was in Wolverhampton to take part in the Armistice Day commemorations in the city centre.

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Farage announcement

On a campaign visit to Hartlepool Mr Farage announced that the Brexit Party will not contest any of the 317 seats won by the Conservatives in the last general election.

"I will tell you now exactly what we are going to do," he told supporters.

The Prime Minister met veterans in Wolverhampton

"The Brexit Party will not contest the 317 seats the Conservatives won at the last election.

"But what we will do is concentrate our total effort into all the seats that are held by the Labour Party, who have completely broken their manifesto pledge in 2017 to respect the result of the referendum.

"And we will also take on the rest of the Remainer parties. We will stand up and we will fight them all."

Mr Farage said the Prime Minister's move towards a free trade deal with the European Union that did not include regulatory alignment was a "significant change" to the approach on Brexit.

Mr Johnson pulled a pint in the Lych Gate Tavern in Wolverhampton

"He said we would negotiate a super Canada-plus trade deal with no political alignment," said the Brexit Party leader.

"That is a huge change. Ever since Mrs May's abject speech in Florence, we have been aiming at a close and special partnership with the European Union.

"We had been aiming to stay part of many of its agencies.

"Boris last night signalled a very clear change in direction. I thought to myself overnight, 'That sounds a bit more like the Brexit we voted for'."

'Delighted'

Eddie Hughes, the Tory candidate for Walsall North, had been due to face a Brexit Party candidate in the seat he won by a majority of 2,601 at the last election.

Mr Johnson at the Remembrance Day service in Wolverhampton

He said: "I'm delighted that Nigel Farrage has adopted a pragmatic approach in respect of the seats won by Conservatives in 2017 – but I sincerely hope he considers further concessions in respect of seats like Dudley North where we missed out on victory by just 23 votes.

"Boris is so close to getting Brexit done it would great if Nigel helped him get it over the line."

Mr Farage had faced criticism from Brexiteers over his election strategy, with concerns raised that he could split the Leave vote by standing against Tory candidates.

It led to a number of his candidates standing down last week, including Paul Brothwood in Dudley South, who defected to the Conservatives.

"I think that Nigel's announcement has vindicated my decision to stand down," he said. "The pressure we have put him under has made him change strategy."

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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