farage
© REUTERS
He had been under mounting pressure in recent days
The Brexit Party leader has stood down hundreds of candidates in the run-up to the ballot

Nigel Farage claimed he was offered a peerage 48 hours before blinking first in his Brexit stand off with Boris Johnson .

The Brexit Party chief was forced to scrap plans to stand candidates in hundreds of seats amid mounting warnings he risked scuppering EU withdrawal.

He claimed he was offered a peerage on Friday night - just two days before his screeching U-turn boosted the Prime Minister.

But he denied the Christmas bauble was behind his decision - and vowed to snub the offer.

Johnson
© PA
Boris Johnson was buoyed by Mr Farage's announcement
Experts and anti-EU campaigners had warned that fielding Brexit Party candidates against the Tories in a swathe of Leave-supporting heartlands which Mr Johnson must win to scoop a Commons majority risked splitting the Brexit vote and allowing Labour or the Lib Dems to win.

Mr Farage, who has tried and failed seven times to become an MP, announced he was pulling parliamentary hopefuls out of 317 seats the Conservatives won in the 2017 election.

He vowed to target Labour-held constituencies instead.

Mr Farage claimed he changed his mind after watching a Prime Minister Twitter video where Mr Johnson said the UK would not extend a Brexit transition, due to end in December 2020, and seek a free trade agreement with Brussels.


Comment: A twitter video made him see the light? Really??


The film was posted at 5pm on Sunday - and Mr Farage's U-turn triggered claims he had sealed a pact with the PM about hardening up his Brexit plan.

Speaking in Hartlepool, Co Durham, Mr Farage revealed he had been offered a peerage over the weekend.

Asked by the Mirror what he had been promised in return for ditching his plan to run 600 candidates, he said: "Nothing, and I have asked for nothing. I don't want anything."

Asked if he was offered a peerage, he said: "I was offered one last Friday.

"Ridiculous - the thought they can buy me, a high-paid job; but I'm not interested, I don't want to know."


Comment: That remains to be seen.


parliament
© PA
The Brexit Party leader claimed he was offered a seat in the House of Lords
Pressed, he insisted he would turn down either a peerage or a knighthood.

Mr Farage said his party would fight 300 seats - but left the door open to abandoning more if the election battled showed the Brexit Party threatening the Conservatives in the run-up to December 12.

He believed his party's decision would derail the chances of another EU vote.

"I think our action, this announcement today, prevents a second referendum from happening," he said.

"And that to me, I think right now, is the single most important thing in our country.

"So in a sense we now have a Leave alliance, it's just that we've done it unilaterally.

"We've decided ourselves that we absolutely have to put country before party and take the fight to Labour."

Crowing Mr Johnson welcomed Mr Farage's "recognition that another gridlocked hung Parliament is the greatest threat to getting Brexit done".

"If we have another hung Parliament it would lead to two more chaotic referendums next year," he wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

"The Conservatives only need nine more seats to win a majority and leave by the end of January with a deal.

"We can then finally move on as a country, and focus on the priorities that matter to you and your family."

Mr Farage said he would target the Brexit Party's efforts on Labour-held seats.

"I will tell you now exactly what we are going to do," he told supporters.

"The Brexit Party will not contest the 317 seats the Conservatives won at the last election.

"But what we will do is concentrate our total effort into all the seats that are held by the Labour Party, who have completely broken their manifesto pledge in 2017 to respect the result of the referendum.

"And we will also take on the rest of the Remainer parties.

"We will stand up and we will fight them all."

Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery warned: "This is a Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson alliance with Donald Trump to sell out our country and send £500million per week from our NHS to US drugs companies.