Nigel Farage vowed defiance today despite massive pressure to stand more Brexit Party candidates down in Labour marginals.
The MEP dismissed pleas from his own allies such as Arron Banks to avoid splitting the Eurosceptic vote, saying they were suffering from ‘Brexhaustion’.
Instead he condemned Boris Johnson for refusing to give way in Leave-voting Labour heartlands where the Conservatives could ‘never’ win.
He said if the PM had been willing to do that, a third of Labour voters in some crucial target seats would have followed his advice to endorse the Tories.
Making clear hundreds of Brexit Party candidates will be nominated by the deadline of 4pm this afternoon, Mr Farage said: ‘The job of the Brexit Party is to hold him to account, because too many times over the last three years the Conservatives have made promises and not delivered.’
Mr Farage has said he will field candidates in every Labour-held seat – in a move that could hamper Tory efforts to win a majority.
Nigel Farage has condemned Boris Johnson (pictured on a train from Paddington this morning) for refusing to give way in Leave-voting Labour heartlands where the Conservatives could ‘never’ win
Mr Farage (pictured with boxer Derek Chisora in Essex yesterday) is still refusing to back down any further in the election struggle with the Tories
The PM stopped short of urging Mr Farage to withdraw his candidates from Tory-Labour marginal seats last night.
But there are claims the Tories offered an informal pact that would have meant it only fielding ‘paper’ candidates against 40 Brexit Party hopefuls.
But asked about the report in the Daily Telegraph, a Tory source said: ‘We don’t do electoral pacts as we have been very clear on.’
A Brexit Party source said: ‘At every election the Tories have upwards of 100 paper candidates.
‘If this offer was made it was an offer of the status quo, in in other words, no offer at all.
‘It looks like an attempt to portray the Brexit Party and Nigel Farage as unreasonable, despite the huge concessions that we have made, both on a policy and on the unilateral decision not to stand in the 317 Tory held seats.’
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today Programme, Mr Farage said: ‘The job of the Brexit Party is to hold him (Boris Johnson) to account, because too many times over the last three years the Conservatives have made promises and not delivered.’
Mr Farage (pictured at a rally in Essex yesterday) has said he will field candidates in every Labour-held seat – in a move that could hamper Tory efforts to win a majority
He added: ‘This all started way back in September when I sent to Number 10 some polling that said that in their 40 key seats, if I endorsed their Conservative candidate, one-third of Labour voters in those seats would vote Conservative on a one-off basis to get a genuine Brexit done.
‘And ever since that time, what I’ve realised is that the Conservatives want a Conservative majority in Parliament, not a Brexit majority in Parliament.’
‘There are very clearly seats in which we are the lead challenger and their are other seats in which they are the lead challenger to Labour, and we could have done a deal on that basis, but the priority for the Conservative Party, they do not want the Brexit Party to get seats in Parliament.
‘They’d rather risk not winning the election than having a Leave majority, a Leave alliance.’
Mr Farage admitted that Leave.EU campaign chief Mr Banks has ‘given up’ on the Brexit cause as he’s ‘had enough of Brexit’ and has got ‘Brexhasution’.
Responding to Mr Bank’s comments that it is ‘time to take the chips off the table’ and get behind the Conservative Party to deliver Brexit, Mr Farage said: ‘You’re right, he has given it up.
‘Look, Arron Banks has never given a penny to the Brexit Party, let’s be clear about that, he’s not supported the Brexit Party.
The PM (pictured on a visit to Coventry yesterday) stopped short of urging Mr Farage to withdraw his candidates from Tory-Labour marginal seats last night
‘He, I think, has just had enough of Brexit, it’s Brexhaustion and he’s happy, he was happy for some reason to go along with Mrs May and Boris’s deal.
‘What we’ve got so far in this campaign is for Boris to promise to change direction, what we now have to do is to hold him to account to make sure we get a proper Brexit, and that’s my job.’
In a major climbdown, Mr Farage announced on Monday that his party would not run in the 317 constituencies the Conservatives won at the 2017 general election, after initially saying his party would field more than 600 candidates.
He said he made the decision amid fears that it could split the Brexit vote, leading to a hung parliament and a second referendum.
But there have been calls for Mr Farage to go even further if he wants to keep Mr Corbyn out of Number 10.
Candidates who want to stand as MPs need to hand in nomination papers by 4pm, and candidates who want to withdraw their nominations also must do so by 4pm.
A new poll has found the Tories are in the lead with 40 per cent while Labour is on 30 per cent ahead of next month’s election.
The voting intention poll for the Telegraph, which involved 2,022 adults on November 11 and 12, put the Lib Dems on 16 per cent and the Brexit Party on 7 per cent.
Business Secretary Leadsom said she is ‘absolutely confident’ that the Conservatives will get a free trade deal done by the end of 2020.
But when pressed on the matter on ITV’s Peston, Ms Leadsom said: ‘Until we reach the end of 2020, we won’t know for sure.’
She added: ‘I think anybody who wants to leave the European Union with a deal needs to vote Conservative.
‘Voting for the Brexit Party won’t mean we leave the EU. It will simply mean we get Jeremy Corbyn.’
Meanwhile, European Council president Donald Tusk has appeared to back Mr Johnson’s opponents by advising campaigners not to give up on stopping Brexit.
In a speech, Mr Tusk said: ‘The UK election takes place in one month. Can things still be turned around? Hannah Arendt taught that things become irreversible only when people start to think so.
‘So the only words that come to my mind today are simply: Don’t give up. In this match, we had added time, we are already in extra time, perhaps it will even go to penalties?’