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Farage launches campaign for snap UK election with ultimatum

File photo of Nigel Farage, head of the Brexit Party
File photo of Nigel Farage, head of the Brexit Party REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Populist politician and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has kicked off his election campaign with an ultimatum to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to drop his deal with Brussels or face a challenge in every seat in the 12 December snap election.

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"I will say this to Boris Johnson: drop the deal, drop the deal because it is not Brexit. Drop the deal because as weeks go by and people discover what it is you will have signed up, they will not like it," Farage said at the campaign launch.

Farage says that a solid 150 seats in Parliament are pro-Brexit and that if the Conservatives do not challenge those seats, his party will put up candidates. If the Tories do not agree to the proposal, the Brexit Party will place candidates for all 650 seats up in the general election, he said. 

The ruling Conservative party rejected his threat, reiterating its stance that it would never cut a deal.

"It will not get Brexit done - and it will create another gridlocked parliament that doesn’t work," said Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly.

The Tories hold 298 out of 650 seats in the House of Commons, not enough to rely on its own strength. The party needs to work with independent and smaller parties to move forward, and its former Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) alliance is tatters due to the current Brexit plan on the table.

Farage forging ahead

Farage was largely considered an outsider until he was backed by wealthy Eurosceptic financiers. His Brexit vision gained ground with voters who felt ignored by the main parties, which ultimately gave the "leave" vote the edge in the 2016 referendum.

The Brexit Party now proposes to get Labour voters who want to leave the EU on board for the 12 December election. The latest opinion polls show that the party still have a foothold of 10 percent, down from 31 percent at the height of the European Parlimant campaign in May.

For Farage, the “clean-break Brexit” means leaving the EU without a deal. He has called on Johnson to push for a free trade deal instead of the transitional agreement he put on the table. He has proposed that Johnson makes 1 July his deadline for no-deal Brexit.

"Please don't doubt we are ready," said Farage. "I hope that common sense prevails over the next new weeks," he added.

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