Boris Johnson has ruled out striking an electoral pact with Nigel Farage as a senior Conservative source said the Brexit Party leader should ‘never be allowed anywhere near government’.
Mr Farage had offered the Prime Minister a ‘non-aggression pact’ at the next general election and claimed such an arrangement would make Mr Johnson ‘unstoppable’.
But a spokesman for the Prime Minister dismissed suggestions that a deal could be done between the two men as he said: ‘The PM will not be doing a deal with Nigel Farage.’
Meanwhile, a senior Tory source moved to unequivocally kill off speculation that an alliance could be agreed in the future as they launched an extraordinary attack on Mr Farage and former Ukip donor Arron Banks.
The source said: ‘Neither Nigel Farage nor Arron Banks are fit and proper persons and they should never be allowed anywhere near government.’
Mr Farage immediately responded by asking: ‘Does the Downing Street spokesman want to play petty party politics or deliver on the wishes of 17.4 million people? It’s time they made up their minds.’
He also suggested that the comments appeared to have come from ‘deep inside the bunker’ and stressed that he did not even want a job in government.
Mr Farage later questioned whether the spokesman had been speaking on Mr Johnson’s behalf, telling MailOnline that the comments ‘do not do away with the validity of the offer’ of a partnership.
The Brexit Party leader had previously said that his offer of a pact was only available if Mr Johnson shifted to wholeheartedly backing a No Deal Brexit.
The Prime Minister wants to keep the option of a No Deal Brexit on the table but his preference remains Britain splitting from Brussels with a deal on October 31.
The explosive remarks came amid claims that Mr Farage would agree an alliance with the Tories if his party was given a free run in 90 seats at the next election – now widely expected to be held in November or December.
The hardline Brexiteer said that in exchange he would not field candidates against sitting Tory MPs or in specific target constituencies.
Boris Johnson, pictured in London yesterday, today ruled out an electoral pact with Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party
Mr Farage immediately responded by accusing Mr Johnson of ‘playing petty party politics’
The Brexit Party leader, pictured on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme on Monday, said a pact would make Mr Johnson ‘unstoppable’ and secure him a majority at the next election
Mr Farage wants to go after Labour Leave-voting seats in the Midlands, south Wales and the north of England where Ukip has performed strongly in the past but where the Tories have rarely been genuine challengers.
But any chances of a deal between Mr Farage and Mr Johnson now appear to be dead.
A source had told The Sun overnight that Mr Farage ‘has had some conversations with people who are very close to Boris, not MPs or ministers to keep them discreet’.
They said: ‘They’re more to scope out whether he’s serious about a deal than actual negotiations, and the Tories now appreciate he is. It is a beginning’.
The source added: ‘It’s very simple, it’s all about the numbers. Boris knows he cannot win a majority without our help’.
Mr Farage is hopeful his party will be able to capitalise at a snap poll on Labour’s confusing Brexit position.
The path to a pact between the Brexit Party and the Tories already appeared difficult before today’s comments because of Mr Farage’s main pre-condition.
He is campaigning for a No Deal Brexit because he believes that is the only way to deliver a ‘clean break’ from Brussels.
But Mr Johnson remains committed to striking a deal with the EU by the Halloween deadline and would only go through with No Deal as a last resort.
He does not view a No Deal split with anywhere near the same level of enthusiasm as Mr Farage which was always likely to make an alliance difficult.
Mr Johnson’s decision to torch any prospect of a deal with Mr Farage is likely to spark concern among senior Tory figures.
The PM has been under pressure to do a deal with the Brexit Party to avoid the Eurosceptic vote being split when the nation goes to the polls.
A ComRes poll for The Telegraph out today put the Tories on 30 per cent, Labour on 29 per cent, the Lib Dems on 17 per cent and the Brexit Party on 13 per cent.
If those levels of support were repeated at the next election, the Electoral Calculus website suggests the Tories would finish 41 seats short of the 320 needed for a majority.
Mr Johnson could win 285 seats to Labour’s 266 while the Lib Dems would surge to 38 MPs. Mr Farage could finish without a single seat.
Such a result would make it almost impossible for the Tories to form a government and would potentially open the door to a Labour/SNP/Lib Dem coalition.
If the Tories and Brexit Party agreed not to stand candidates against each other it would likely pave the way for more Brexit-backing MPs to be elected.
Many Conservatives fear that if the Brexit vote is split at the next election either Labour or the Lib Dems will come through the middle to win in many seats.
The two parties now appear destined to go head to head with Mr Farage having said in the past that he will stand candidates in every seat if he did not agree with Mr Johnson’s approach to Brexit.
It sets the scene for what will be a bruising general election campaign. It is also likely to disappoint many Tory and Brexit Party supporters.
A recent poll for The Sunday Times found that seven in 10 people who vote Conservative and eight in 10 Brexit Party backers were in favour of the two leaders joining forces.