Should Boris Johnson accept an election pact with the Brexit Party?
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
Nigel Farage wants to form an election pact with Boris Johnson.
The Brexit Party leader said he will not field candidates against sitting Tory MPs or in target seats, if his candidates are allowed a free run in traditional Labour heartlands.
Downing Street has said that the prime minister will not make a pact with Farage. A polling expert also said the "non-aggression pact" offered by Farage would be "extremely unlikely".
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has offered an election pact to Boris Johnson - with some conditions, The Sun reports.
He wants Brexit Party candidates to target traditional Labour heartlands in the North, Midlands and Wales. This would mean they would be given a free run by the Tories in 80 to 90 parliamentary seats.
In exchange, they would not stand against sitting Tory MPs and in target seats for the Conservative Party.
The former UKIP leader believes he can win 40 to 50 of those seats.
A source close to the Brexit Party leader told The Sun: "Nigel has had some conversations with people who are very close to Boris, not MPs or ministers to keep them discreet.
"They’re more to scope out whether he’s serious about a deal than actual negotiations, and the Tories appreciate he is. It is a beginning.
"It’s very simple, it’s all about the numbers. Boris knows he cannot win a majority without our help."
However, Downing Street has said that Johnson will not make an election pact with Farage.
A senior Tory source branded Farage as "not a fit and proper person", saying he should "never be allowed anywhere near government".
Political scientist John Curtice told Express.co.uk that he believes it is "extremely unlikely" there is going to be an alliance between the Tories and the Brexit Party.
The polling guru explains that Farage wants the prime minister to commit to a no-deal Brexit.
Curtice, a professor of politics at Strathclyde University, said: "I think the number of Conservative MPs who would rebel against Mr Johnson, if he were to strike such a deal, would be considerably greater than the 21 MPs who voted against him in the House of Commons.
"Therefore, frankly he’s not in a position in his party to do such a deal. At the end of the day, the aim of even strongly pro-Brexit MPs is not to applaud a Nigel Farage; it is to bury him."
He added: "Now after October 31, well, the truth is that if we managed to leave the European Union, Nigel Farage has probably already indicated the Brexit Party wouldn’t necessarily fight, or - at most - he might be hoping the Tories stand in a few rather more Labour-held seats.
"So, in those circumstances, perhaps there wouldn’t be much of a competition, but the problem the prime minister is facing, as we speak, is it’s not clear that he can engineer himself an election after October 31."
The Times' analysis of polling by YouGov, Opinium, Survation, Ipsos MORI and ComRes - with the last poll being published on September 8 - puts the Tories in front with 32 per cent.
Labour is in second with just under a quarter of the vote (23 per cent), followed by the Lib Dems (19 per cent). The Brexit Party sits in fourth place with 14 per cent, while the Greens are on seven per cent.
The Guardian notes that Johnson remains on top, but nobody can agree by how much. Following his turbulent week in Westminster, polls taken at the end of last week show the Tories ahead of Labour by between three and 14 points.
They report: "That would leave Johnson somewhere between a landslide and a hung parliament similar to today’s with the Conservatives as the largest party, although such is the current volatility that it is acknowledged that public opinion can easily shift."