Nigel Farage has pulled the Brexit Party out of all constituencies won by the Conservatives in the last election.
The Brexiteer had come under increasing pressure to reduce the number of candidates it is fielding in the general election to prevent splitting the Leave vote and hurting the Conservatives.
Speaking at a press conference in Hartlepool he bowed to pressure following earlier warning shots fired by Arron Banks among others.
Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg had also urged him to step aside and “leave the field”, warning that he was in danger of snatching “defeat from the jaws of victory” for the campaign to leave the EU.
Will not contest 317 seats
The Brexit Party will no longer contest the 317 seats currently held by the Conservatives.
Farage has been labelled a “bottler” following the announcement.
Alastair Campbell tweeted: “Brexit bottlers the pair of you. One day it is not Brexit, worse than May’s deal, the next day you’re backing it. What did it take? A peerage down the track? Or an order from Vlad?”
Labour have called the unilateral pact a “Thatcherite 1980s tribute act” and amounts to an “alliance with Donald Trump to sell out our country”.
“The Brexit Party will not contest the 317 seats the Conservatives won at the last election”— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) November 11, 2019
Nigel Farage says his party will only fight seats held by Labour and “the rest of the Remainer parties”, rather than field 600 candidates as previously promisedhttps://t.co/s3iJabOx1J pic.twitter.com/xz5YtjmQOW
Sell out plan
Farage had previously labelled the Conservative’s Withdrawal Bill as a “sell out” that would not deliver Brexit.
He also moved to alleviate concerns that the party will split the vote, saying they “will be the only people actually offering Brexit, leaving the European Union and its institutions”.
Earlier today Arron Banks announced he was set to release a tactical voting app on Friday advising Brexiteers to “back Boris” in all but 40 seats.
According to a spokesman for Leave.EU the app will be aimed at getting the Prime Minister a majority so “we can get Brexit done”.