Nigel Farage claimed he has “given more ground than anyone in the interest of putting country before party” today following his shock announcement to pull out of the 317 seats won by the Conservatives in 2017.
The self-proclaimed Brexit martyr told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I made a big, generous offer to the Conservative Party yesterday”, gifting them seats that may otherwise have been under threat in a bid to fend off any chance of a second referendum.
But far from being a hero, the Brexit Party leader had simply faced up to the reality that his party was on a hiding to nothing.
Backed by Banks
Former Vote Leave backer Arron Banks had warned earlier that day that he would advise voters to “back Boris” if Farage refused to stand down in most constituencies before Friday.
The Leave.EU group was set to release a tactical voting app showing Brexiteers who they should back in every seat, giving overwhelming preference to the Conservative Party.
It is thought the app would have supported Brexit Party candidates in about 40 seats where the Conservatives are “no hopers” and the only alternative would be a Labour victory.
It would have come as a humiliating blow from a once key political ally.
There were also clear suggestions in the polls that voters were deserting the Brexit Party.
YouGov put the party on just 10 per cent of the vote as of 8th November, with Opinium putting them three points down on six per cent.
Based on those numbers it looked unlikely that the party could return anywhere near the number of MPs needed to make a meaningful impact.
That remains the case with the party pulling out of all Tory seats, but at least Farage has that as a defence now.
It is also worth noting that neither Farage nor the Brexit Party have a strong record when it comes to general polls.
Farage has stood for election to the House of Commons seven times, in five general elections and two by-elections, but has not won any of those elections.
The Brexit Party, on the other hand, lost Peterborough, which appeared to be a shoe-in at the time.
They launched legal action following the result, claiming the voting system was “rigged”.