Nigel Farage claims No. 10 insiders 'offered inducements' to get Brexit Party candidates to stand aside

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has accused Number 10 insiders of offering bribes and inducements to try to persuade candidates not to run against Tory Party hopefuls.

Mr Farage said people inside Downing Street had been "ringing our candidates promising them jobs and Christmas baubles if they don't stand".

He told ITV News: "If that's not political corruption, I don't know what is."

Brexit Party Chair Richard Tice seconded Mr Farage's claims, adding he was "dismayed by the behaviour of senior Conservative Party figures".

Mr Farage also alleged other Brexit Party candidates had been abused and intimidated.

Mr Farage has previously claimed he was offered - and turned down - a peerage if he would pull his Brexit Party out of tight Tory target seats.

When asked about Mr Farage's claims that jobs were offered to candidates and peerages to senior figures in the Brexit Party, the Conservative Party said no jobs or peerages had been offered.

Mr Farage added: "There's something absolutely rotten at the heart of British politics... it's about power, I suppose.

"But the fact you've got power doesn't mean you should abuse it and Number 10 did today."

He added that he did not believe Boris Johnson was involved.

Mr Tice added: "Since our decision to stand down more than half our candidates for the good of this country, we have been dismayed by the behaviour of senior Conservative Party figures.

"Our people have been offered jobs and titles to stand down as candidates on the last day of nominations, as part of a concerted campaign to undermine our party.

"We made a unilateral gesture which should prevent a second referendum and keep Boris Johnson in office.

"We are proud and grateful that our candidates have resisted these distasteful overtures and stood firm."

Brexit Party Chair Richard Tice seconded Nigel Farage's claims. Credit: PA

The Conservatives have denied the claims.

A spokesperson for the Tory party said: "Neither the Conservative Party, nor its officials have offered Brexit Party candidates jobs or peerages.

"We don't do electoral pacts - our pact is with the British people.

"The only way to get Brexit done and unleash Britain’s potential is to vote for your local Conservative candidate, otherwise the country runs the risk of another deadlocked parliament, or even worse a Labour/SNP coalition led by Jeremy Corbyn who would subject Britain to two referendums in 2020."

A party source added: "Nigel cant deliver Brexit, but he could end up blocking it.

"His outburst is a result of this fact dawning on him."

  • ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy says Nigel Farage is "furious"

Mr Farage said most candidates had resisted any attempts to dissuade them from standing, although it was confirmed prominent Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe will not contest Dudley North as the 4pm deadline for General Election candidate nominations passed.

The former Southampton FC chairman’s decision comes on the eve of a visit to the town by Mr Farage, who had been expected to lend Mr Lowe his backing.

Mr Lowe was elected as one of three West Midlands Brexit Party MEPs earlier this year as the party won more than 500,000 votes across the region.

There is no suggestion he had been offered any inducement not to run.

Rupert Lowe decided not to run in Dudley North. Credit: PA

He tweeted: “I am putting country before party as it is highly conceivable my candidacy could allow Corbyn’s Momentum candidate to win.

“They are simply not fit to govern.”

In a post on his social media platforms coinciding with the 4pm deadline, Mr Lowe added: “I believe that if the Labour Party were to be elected in the forthcoming election Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell with Momentum behind them will devastate Britain and destroy all that decent people have achieved through their hard work and enterprise.

“They are simply not fit to govern and Momentum is the most sinister development in recent British politics, mirroring the beginnings of the Communist Party in the USSR.”

In a message addressed at local voters, Mr Lowe said: “I would like to say a big thank you to the people of Dudley North.

“Unlike many other areas of the Southern metropolitan elite, they still have a proud, traditional, cohesive local community which they should cherish and protect.”

Then-Labour MP Ian Austin triumphed over the Tories in Dudley North in the 2017 General Election by a margin of just 22 votes.

The candidates running for Dudley North are:

  • Labour - Melanie Dudley

  • Conservatives - Marco Longhi

  • Liberal Democrats - Ian Flynn

  • Green - Mike Harrison