NIGEL FARAGE has been accused of admitting defeat after revealing he will not be standing for parliament.
The Brexit Party leader said he will confine himself to campaigning for his 600 general election candidates in seats across the UK because ‘it’s very difficult to do both’. With the party dropping to 11 per cent in latest polls, rivals said he was afraid to risk an eighth successive failure to win a seat.
But Mr Farage — an MEP for 20 years — said his motive was to secure Brexit, rather than to bolster his career. ‘I don’t want to be in politics for the rest of my life,’ he told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show yesterday.
‘Do I find a seat to try get myself into parliament or do I serve the cause better traversing the length and breadth of the United Kingdom supporting 600 candidates? I’ve decided the latter course is the right one.’
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘It’s a bit weird to lead a political party and not offer himself for election. He’s obviously very comfortable on his MEP salary.’
Naomi Smith, of pro-Remain group Best for Britain, said: ‘Nigel Farage isn’t standing because he knows there’s not a single constituency in the UK that would want him to represent them.’
And Tory Brexiteer Steve Baker said the decision showed ‘serious politics requires more than chucking difficulties into a crisis’.
There had been speculation Mr Farage would stand in Thurrock, Essex, where his former party Ukip came within 1,000 votes of victory in 2015.
He has been rebuffed by Boris Johnson after offering a pact that would have seen Brexit Party or Tory candidates stand aside in constituencies, depending on which had the best chance of victory.
‘I still hope and pray it happens but it doesn’t look like it will,’ Mr Farage said.
The LBC radio host, who said top Tories had twice offered him a peerage in an attempt to bring him on side, called the prime minister’s Brexit deal a ‘massive con’.
But Arron Banks, co-founder of Leave.EU, urged him to back the deal and limit his campaign to Labour-held seats.