Has Nigel Farage allowed the Brexit Party to be dismissed as mere Turquoise Tories? 

Rather than split the Tory-inclined Leave vote across Britain, Nigel Farage has decided just to do it in half of the seats he originally threatened. So how can Boris Johnson’s allies resist seizing on his partial retreat to ask him to go further?

The Brexit Party leader has not taken this kindly, complaining to the BBC that he had "just gifted the Conservative Party nearly two dozen seats, and I did it believe I believe in Leave". The Tories’ failure to return the favour by pulling out of seats he might hope to take showed "it’s about them as a party, not delivering Brexit".

Mr Farage’s bitterness is understandable, as he has had to accept far less than what he initially demanded in order to back down. He began his stand-off by demanding that Mr Johnson drop his deal outright, but was rebuffed by the Prime Minister clinging onto his "oven-ready" agreement. Then he asked just for the political declaration to "fundamentally change" so that the clause allowing for the transition to go on beyond December 2020 was removed and it was made clear that the UK would pursue a free trade agreement without any alignment.

But the Brexit Party leader had to content himself with Mr Johnson explaining that his deal allowed him to pursue a Canada-style FTA without getting tied in politically – something that has been the case from the moment his deal was hammered out – and that he did still not want to extend the transition – a stance Number 10 has already made clear. While Mr Farage tried to chalk it up in today’s Telegraph as a "direct challenge to Barnier, requiring a change to the political declaration before parliamentary ratification", Mr Johnson did not quite say that. Instead of promising to remove the text setting out how the transition could be extended, he had simply indicated his opposition to extending it further, in the same way he used to inveigh against the idea of extending Article 50 beyond October 31.

Mr Farage’s decision not to threaten any Tory-held seats has outraged some Brexit Party members, who have pointed out that they will be among half of the electorate who will be unable to vote for someone who wants as clean a break as they do.

I will be one of millions of people who will not vote at all in the General Election. That breaks my heart. I have voted in every election since I was 18 and been involved in politics for over a decade. And I have been disenfranchised by my own party.

— Alexandra Phillips MEP (@BrexitAlex) November 12, 2019

More significantly for this election, given the Brexit Party leader’s hope of taking some seats off Labour, his concession has been seized on by Jeremy Corbyn. 

The Labour leader has already sought seeking to neutralise the Brexit Party’s potential to peel off disgruntled Eurosceptic voters who would never back the Tories by loudly lumping them together with the Tories.

"I think what we have before us is an alliance between Nigel Farage, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson," he declared today at a rally in Blackpool. His line will be greatly helped by the fact that the President of the United States himself suggested to Mr Farage on his LBC talk-show that he work with the Prime Minister to forge an "unstoppable" Leave alliance.

Even though the alliance is for Mr Farage what Emma Watson would call a “self-partnered” arrangement, that is good enough for the Left, which has been merrily pushing the idea that he is in cahoots with the Tories. 

Farage is not on the side of working people. We cannot give him the power to erode our rights.

A vote for the Brexit Party is a vote for the Tories.@GMB_Unionpic.twitter.com/PntsL11oMl

— Steve Reed (@SteveReedMP) November 12, 2019

Expect to hear a lot more talk like from Mr Corbyn and his comrades. The Opposition has deployed such rhetoric before against Mr Farage in his Ukip days, blunting his efforts to win any seats in Labour’s northern heartlands by painting him and his colleagues as Tories in pinstripe and emphasising to voters his blunt view of the NHS.

The Brexit Party’s sliding poll rating, with it barely breaking 10 per cent these days, forced Mr Farage to "put country before party" by pulling his troops out of direct confrontation with the Tories. For now, he hopes to save face by coming after Labour and winning a few seats. But his potential to do so may have been blunted by allowing Jeremy Corbyn to dismiss Brexit Party candidates as mere Turquoise Tories.

Mr Farage’s retreat from Tory-held seats shows that he is prepared to swallow Mr Johnson’s deal. If he felt so strongly opposed to it, he would have no trouble sticking to his guns and fielding all 600 candidates, safe in the belief that it would be better to risk Brexit being delayed, or not happening at all, if it meant Brexit could be avoided under what he used to see as "dreadful" terms negotiated by Mr Johnson. 

But by backing down from fighting the Tories, Mr Farage may have given the Labour leader the defence he needs to help keep his remaining Brexit Party candidates at bay.

Letters: Farage should work with Tories for a pro-Brexit majority in Parliament

SIR – It is a welcome start that the Brexit Party will not stand in those 317 constituencies won by the Conservatives in 2017. That, however, may prove insufficient to secure a pro-Brexit majority in the House of Commons.

At the very least, the Brexit Party should also not contest those seats won by the Conservatives in 2015, but subsequently lost, as well as those marginals held by other parties where there is a reasonable chance of a Tory victory.

Many of these constituencies have tiny Labour majorities (such as 22 in Dudley North and 30 in Newcastle-under-Lyme) but a Brexit Party candidate could well split the Leave vote and allow the consequent return of a Remainer Labour MP.

Edward Giles
Hamble-le-Rice, Hampshire

 

SIR – As a Conservative, my admiration for Nigel Farage and all that he has done to get us out of the EU has now turned to a deep respect for his pragmatism and political courage. Well done, him.

Michael Shaw
Holyhead, Anglesey

 

SIR – It is very sad that Nigel Farage has stood down 300-plus candidates around the country. (You can imagine how happy many of them will be.) I now have no one to vote for.

I just hope he can be persuaded to put himself up for one of the seats being fought. We need this man in the House of Commons.

Mike Critchley
Gosport, Hampshire

 

 

SIR – It is excellent news to hear that the Brexit Party will not stand against Conservative candidates in constituencies that voted Conservative last time.

The Remainer camp has plotted for three and a half years and have had it all their own way. Now we have a Brexit alliance to achieve a Brexit parliament after the next election.

Nigel Farage, Richard Tice and Boris Johnson have shown pragmatic good sense. I hope the Tories will recognise the contribution of leading Brexiteers in forming their next administration.

Mick Ferrie
Mawnan Smith, Cornwall

 

SIR – The Brexit Party can help ensure a Conservative government by not standing in any seat that the Conservatives can win from Labour or any other party study. Peterborough, Barrow, Canterbury, Ashfield and many others could stay as now if the Brexit Party stood in them.

Nicholas White
Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire

 

SIR – In seats being fought by Remainer candidates, where Conservatives have little chance of success, ought the Conservative party urgently decide to withdraw in favour of Brexit Party candidates who offer electors who support Brexit a real and meaningful choice?

John Pritchard
Ingatestone, Essex

 

Escaping Christmas cheer

Christmas seems to start earlier and become more commercial every year Credit:  Victoria Jones/PA

SIR – I will certainly join Tim Stanley (Comment, November 11) in boycotting the tacky, secular celebrations that coincide with Christmas.

Ironically, when I am feeling particularly depressed by it all, I escape to the peace and tranquillity of a church.

Helen Webster
Pyrford, Surrey

 

SIR – Tim Stanley is wrong to assume that Christians have the right to demand big businesses “stop using the birthday of Jesus to sell rubbish to atheists”.

Many of the things we enjoy most about Christmas hark back to the pagan roots of the winter solstice. Long before Jesus, celebrations in December signalled the end of winter, and the Roman birth of the sun was adopted as the celebration of the birth of the son of God.

Christmas today is a more of a cultural festival than a religious one. If you don’t wish to join in until a set date, don’t. The season starts for each individual when they decide they want it to start. Christians don’t own the festive season and we’re all allowed to enjoy this time of year.

Emilie Lamplough
Trowbridge, Wiltshire

 

Tories and Muslims

Baroness Warsi, also known as Sayeeda Warsi, who was the UK's first Muslim cabinet minister Credit: Clara Molden for The Telegraph

SIR – Baroness Warsi’s “institutionally racist” Conservative Party (report, November 10) is presumably the same party that makes Muslims home secretary or chancellor of the exchequer (unlike Labour), and bestows peerages on them, even if they prove to be third-rate politicians , who are reduced to being hired by jumped-up polytechnics rebranded as universities, where, as at Hogwarts, it appears that anyone can become a “professor”.

I feel one of my heads coming on …

Mark Boyle
Johnstone, Renfrewshire

 

Drink deposits

SIR – Every few weeks I collect bags of litter from the lane leading to our Essex village, most of which is made up of drink containers.

Please can we have an election pledge to impose a deposit on all drink bottles, cans and cups. This should reduce litter and improve recycling, and would also earn money for the village hall maintenance fund.

We could then start to tackle the crisp packets and takeaway boxes.

Malcolm Thomas
Hanningfield, Essex

 

Corbyn and defence

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

SIR – Listening to Emily Thornberry on the Today programme yesterday left me in no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn would be a danger to this country and its overseas territories. 

He has never supported military action and he opposes Nato – in fact he says that Nato is the problem. He is a danger to freedom and our way of life.

Graham Mitchell
Haslemere, Surrey

 

SIR – I wonder whether the Scottish Nationalists, and Ian Blackford in particular (report, November 11), truly understand the nature of deterrence? 

Mr Blackford was quoted as saying: “To waste up to £200 billion on these weapons of mass destruction that can never be used is a fallacy.” 

The weapons are in daily use, actively deterring any foreign state from launching nuclear weapons or any armed aggression against Britain and its allies. The increasing worldwide proliferation of nuclear weapons is such that it is entirely appropriate for us to protect ourselves against future armed aggression.

Wg Cdr Kevin Dowling (retd)
Welbourn, Lincolnshire

 

 

SIR – On Saturday evening there was a wonderful Remembrance Service. The Queen, many of the Royal family and Boris Johnson were present Emily Thornberry was there but no sign of Jeremy Corbyn.

For someone who is bidding to lead the country, absence from such a national occasion is surely a glaring omission. Tony Duff
Leyburn, North Yorkshire

 

SIR – While shopping, I always put some small change in the poppy collection box. However, many people today prefer to pay with plastic or by phone.

Will there be less cash in the collection boxes this year, and has the Royal British Legion ever tried issuing card readers to on-street poppy sellers?

Bernard Powell
Southport, Lancashire

 

Shortage of GPs

SIR – Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health, says that we have all experienced the frustration of hanging on the telephone to book a doctor’s appointment for later that day, but, here in Essex, an appointment later that month would be an improvement. 

This morning I looked at the online patient access system and the first GP appointment is for December 3. If one wishes to see a specific GP, the wait is about four weeks.

I am not sure how Mr Hancock believes he is going to remedy this by the end of the next Parliament. Even if the promised additional GPs start their training the day after the election, I cannot understand how they can possibly be seeing patients in the timescale he gives, as it takes five years or more to gain the qualifications.
Tim Wood
Wivenhoe, Essex

 

Cashless bank

Cash could soon be a thing of the past in many banks Credit:  Jonathan Kitchen/ Photographer's Choice RF

SIR – I recently received a personalised letter advising me that my bank branch was moving to a new location. This new branch would be run by the same great team but would have “new features and different options”.

 It then went on to tell me that “reflecting the way banking is changing, the new branch will not provide a cash or counter service, nor have an ATM”. 

I am mystified as to what the different options can be if I can’t withdraw cash or talk to an adviser.

Veronica Carlton
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

 

Engagement rings: hope beats prosperity

S for spouse in the encyclopedic detail of an illustration from Omne Bonum attributed toJames le Palmer, c 1300 Credit: Bridgeman images/Bridgeman images

SIR – My engagement ring (Letters, November 8) was chosen by my husband as an impoverished student and was the second-smallest in the shop. I would have been happy with the smallest.

Nearly 30 years later he is a well-paid professional and could afford a larger rock, should I want one. But my tiny diamond is still on my finger representing the hope, trust and love of our youth.

Julia Sharpe
Salisbury, Wiltshire

 

SIR – In 1958, my husband-to-be and I chose an antique engagement ring from a shop in The Lanes in Brighton. As it was second-hand it did not attract purchase tax, but it still took the two of us to muster the £25 asking price.

I am happy to say we are all still together and the ring has appreciated in value. I am not sure whether the same could be said of the purchasers.

Susan Pizey
Exeter, Devon

 

Disposing of the electric car battery mountain

SIR – You report that “Britain faces a new waste crisis from a ‘battery mountain’ caused by the growing use of electric cars” (November 9). Is the encouragement to buy electric cars (like government encouragement to buy diesel, not petrol, earlier this century) advice to ignore?

The batteries have a life of seven to 10 years, and what is the planet-friendly disposal process? There is a need for some long-term thinking, a novelty for politicians.

Michael C W Terry
Deal, Kent

 

SIR – Your report did not mention that car batteries are being recycled (by Nissan) into home energy storage batteries, as they still have years of life, albeit at a lower capacity.
Jeremy Davies
Caterham, Surrey

 

 

SIR – Alex Robbins (Motoring, October 30) “presents a riposte to those who say battery power isn’t practical for long journeys” and illustrates this with details of electric vehicles and their claimed impressive ranges.

But by how much are these ranges reduced by winter conditions, and by the battery capacity declining with age and numerous recharging cycles?
Bill Parish
Bromley, Kent

 

SIR – Refuelling is the key if electric vehicles are to be successful, and there is a simple solution. 

The vehicles could have an easily accessed battery pod on their underside. One would simply drive to a specified point in a refuelling station and the pod would be latched on to from below ground, removed and replaced with a fully charged one. It would beat waiting for a recharge.

Stephen Watkins
Nailsea, Somerset

 

 Letters to the Editor

 

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Letters: Nigel Farage’s intransigence over Brexit could cost him and the country

SIR – Nigel Farage could have gone down in history as the man who stiffened the sinews of the Conservative Party and ensured that we left the European Union – but I fear he is more likely to go down as the man who caused us to stay put.

I know pride is at stake, but he must accept that after three years of political wrangling most people want to see a negotiated settlement. His desire for the Government to ditch the Brexit deal will simply not be realised. The only result if he persists with his present course is likely to be no exit from the EU, and a hard-Left Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Graham Lilley
Edge, Gloucestershire

SIR – If the campaigner Gina Miller’s tactical voting site for Remain supporters succeeds and 30 per cent of Remain supporters do indeed vote tactically, what then? Her pro-referendum coalition of opposition parties will most likely be led by Jeremy Corbyn. Has she heard of shooting yourself in the foot?

Fay Thompson
Lytham St Annes, Lancashire

 

SIR – Allison Pearson (Features, November 6) is absolutely right: the fight is now between sanity and a Labour government.

I have massive doubts about the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal, but – using familiar terminology – even that is preferable to the catastrophe of falling off the cliff edge into Marxism.

Eve Wilson
Hill Head, Hampshire

SIR – I was initially inspired to see from your headline that Lord Blunkett, the former Labour home secretary, despairs at the behaviour of Labour’s hard-Left (Comment, November 9).

However, he lost the moral high ground by stating that he would still, if eligible, be casting a vote for his local Labour candidate. How shameful.

Dr Alistair A Donald
Watlington, Oxfordshire

 

SIR – If I am at home for an election I take my postal vote to our nearby polling station, as I have little faith in our postal system even when its employees are not on strike.

Those with a postal vote who are away on December 12 and concerned that they might be disenfranchised (Letters, November 9) could ask a trusted person to deliver it by hand, in its sealed envelope, to any polling station within their constituency.

David Pynn
Malmesbury, Wiltshire

 

SIR – Now that pianos have proved so popular in railway stations, might we roll them out in polling stations?

I live in a small village and some years ago when our polling station was empty the teller, whom I knew, asked me to play the piano in the corner. I played a waltz of my own composition, and was startled to be greeted at the end by a large round of applause – the room had filled up while I was busy.

James Dixon
Stanningfield, Suffolk

 

Planning for floods

SIR – Criticism of the Environment Agency for inadequate flood defences (report, November 9) is unjustified, especially as its objections to flood-causing developments are routinely ignored by planning authorities.

Our climate is getting warmer and therefore we will experience more rain and more heavy downpours. At the same time, we are increasing the extent of impervious surfaces around towns within river catchments. Increased flooding is inevitable.

We cannot reverse climate change quickly, perhaps not at all, but we can mitigate this aspect of it by banning new impervious driveways and car parks and by modifying existing ones.

Michael Heaton
Warminster, Wiltshire

Boris Johnson cleaning up at an opticians in Matlock Credit: DANNY LAWSON/ AFP/Getty

SIR – Do Boris Johnson and his advisers not have any common sense?

In allowing himself to be persuaded to pose with a mop at a flooded home in Matlock, he is gifting headlines to the media and his political opponents. It is crass and stupid.

Valerie Goodchild
Bangor, Co Down

 

Bravery remembered

SIR – I would like to pass on my thanks to Admiral Lord West of Spithead for his letter (November 8) regarding the landing on the island of Walcheren, 
75 years ago.

My father Barry McClory was a Royal Naval signalman on LCF36, which provided covering fire for the landing troops at Westkapelle. Though he had first seen active service at the D-Day landings, Walcheren occupied most of his memories when talking about the war. He was 19 years old. LCF36 was eventually holed and managed to limp back to Portsmouth. Other craft in the flotilla were not so lucky. There were very heavy losses.

It should be noted that the Services do still commemorate the remarkable feats and bravery of the men that took part in Operation Infatuate I and II. When my father passed away in January 2013, the Royal Marines sent two buglers to escort his coffin into the church. These young men saluted my father, played the bugle part of the Evening Hymn and then the Last Post at his burial. His family will always be grateful for the honour they gave him.

Patricia Roberts
Nairn

SIR – The Remembrance Festival at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday honoured the key role that Polish soldiers, under the command of General Wladyslaw Anders, played in bringing the drawn-out battle at Monte Cassino to an end.

The original decision to exclude any Polish personnel from the VE day celebrations (in order to appease Stalin) was considered by many to be an insult to the Polish nation. This moving performance has gone a long way to put matters right.

Richard Widenka
Battle, East Sussex

 

Availability of GPs

SIR – It is all very well for the Government to promise 6,000 more GPs by the end of the next Parliament (report, November 9), but full-time doctors are becoming a rarity as more and more choose to work part-time.

Thus the actual number of appointments that become available will fall well short of expectations, even if the above target is reached.

J H Reeves
Bradfield, Berkshire

 

Exercise caution when teaching the art of yoga

Don’t try this at home: a sadhu (holy man) practising yoga at Pashupatinath, Kathmandu Credit: www.bridgemanimages.com 

SIR – Following the report (November 4) that yoga teachers may risk injury attempting challenging poses for the sake of a good photo opportunity, it would be a shame if readers were put off practising this ancient art.

A good yoga instructor will teach students by example to be careful about proper alignment so that the body is not forced into harmful positions; they will use props where there is stiffness or injury, in order to avoid further injury, and will encourage students to work with ahimsa (non-violence) so that the body is not forced into positions that may harm it. As the late yoga master B K S Iyengar advised: “If you work mindlessly, you will injure yourself.”

Yoga can bring about remarkable health improvements if these principles are followed.

Jill Johnson
Chairman, Iyengar Yoga Association
Altrincham, Cheshire

 

SIR – I was sad to read (report, November 7) that a vicar has banned yoga classes in his church hall.

I used to attend yoga classes in our local Friends Meeting House. The benches where the congregation sat were stacked on the side to give us room for our mats. The class was much enjoyed aside from the fact that we were not allowed to block out the draught whistling under the Georgian doors, for fear that our exit might be impeded in the event of a fire.

Julia Rudebeck
Lewes, East Sussex

 

Diesel trade-off

SIR – If Bristol bans diesel vehicles (Letters, November 9), where are residents to turn when they need a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter or any other tradesman?

We all use diesel vehicles. Good luck persuading us to carry all our tools and materials on the bus.

S M Howard
Aldershot, Hampshire

Take a bow

SIR – I shall approach washing-up more philosophically since reading Malcolm Bailey’s letter (November 9).

I have had Dupuytren’s contracture in my left hand since the mid-Nineties but never needed surgery, possibly due to my doing the dishes and regularly bending the fingers back. However, I may also be stretching the tendons and maintaining my dexterity in my activity as a longbow archer: 
I draw the string with my left hand.

John Bedford
Thatcham, Berkshire

 

A merry monarch

A statue of King George IV in Trafalgar Square Credit: CM Dixon/Print Collector/Getty Images

SIR – The success of King George IV’s visit to Ireland in 1821 (Letters, November 8) may have owed much to his particular frame of mind at the time, since while he was en route he got the news that his estranged wife, Caroline, had died.

It was claimed that the rest of the passage to Dublin was taken up with eating goose pie, drinking whiskey, “in which his Majesty took most abundantly, and singing many joyous songs”. This fits in with what happened on his visit to Edinburgh the following year, when an extra supply of Glenfiddich had to be obtained urgently for fear of running dry.

Roger Hudson
London W8

 

Dogged determination

SIR – Our red setter used to take one of the logs from our log-pile (Letters, November 9) to play with, chew and own. Later, when my husband tossed it into the fire, our dog followed it and started to pull out the burning log.

Luckily, no damage was done to dog or hearth.

Felicity Guille
London SW6

 

Blind tasting

SIR – My local butcher has started making “Peaky Blinder” sausages.

When I asked what was in them, a customer behind me whispered: “Razor blades”.

Dr John James
Lichfield, Staffordshire

 

Letters to the Editor 

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Nigel Farage looked like a man who knows he’s beaten – but still won’t admit it

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There was none of the usual banter and bluster, the swank and the swagger, the bumptious merriment and parping jollity. Picture him in his pomp, eyes crinkling with mischief, hands squelching with glee, as if celebrating the success of a practical joke: a bucket of water balanced on Theresa May’s door, or clingfilm stretched over David Cameron’s loo.

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Considering that the Conservative party has repeatedly snubbed Mr Farage’s overtures for a Leaver election pact, because they are confident they can win a majority without one, Mr Farage has acted magnanimously and with humility…

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