The figurehead of an extreme no-deal Brexit, Nigel Farage, on Sunday said he would not be a parliamentary candidate in the upcoming UK general election.
Farage, who is leader of the Brexit Party, explained that he did not want to focus on campaigning for a single parliamentary constituency.
Instead, the veteran campaigner — who has failed to be elected to the House of Commons seven times — said he could better promote Brexit by campaigning nationally.
“I have thought very hard about this: How do I serve the cause of Brexit best?” he told the BBC. “Do I find a seat and try to get myself into Parliament? Or do I serve the cause better traversing the length and breadth of the United Kingdom supporting 600 candidates? And I’ve decided the latter course is the right one.”
Farage set up the Brexit Party earlier this year to contest the European parliamentary elections, where it won more votes in the UK than any other party. He has been hugely critical of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deal, saying that it leaves the UK still tied to the EU’s political objectives.
Speaking in an interview on Farage’s LBC radio show, US President Donald Trump urged the Brexit Party to become an “unstoppable force” by forming a pact with Boris Johnson. However, he also said the Johnson deal would limit the possibility of trade between the two nations.
Farage’s decision prompted accusations from some journalists that he was running scared.
A decision by Farage to stand Brexit Party candidates in all UK constituencies has raised concern among Conservatives that the pro-Brexit vote will be split.
Farage previously led the UK Independence Parry (UKIP), which was instrumental in engineering a referendum by threatening to siphon votes away from the Conservative Party. That threat helped persuade then-Prime Minister David Cameron to call the 2016 referendum, which saw voters choose to leave the European Union by 52% to 48%.
Meanwhile, Johnson told UK broadcaster Sky that he regretted not being able to get Britain to leave the EU on the anticipated leaving date of October 31. As part of his campaign to become Tory leader, Johnson promised on multiple occasions that the UK would leave the EU on that date.
“I’m deeply, deeply disappointed … it’s a matter of deep regret,” Johnson said. However, he added that the deal was “ready to go” if he wins a majority in the election.