Brexit Party's Nigel Farage refuses to strike deal with Portsmouth Tories amid early election fears
BREXIT Party leader Nigel Farage has poured cold water on city Tories’ hope of coming to an agreement with his group amid speculation an early general election could be called.
As previously reported, city Conservatives are looking to strengthen their position in Portsmouth should Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s threat of a no-confidence vote come to pass.
The motion could lead to a full-scale election and change of government – but can only be called after parliament returns from recess in September.
And in preparation, staunch Brexiteers Councillor Donna Jones – who is set to run against Labour’s Stephen Morgan in Portsmouth South – and Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt are both hoping to convince the Brexit Party not to field candidates on the island.
The tactic could see the blues securing a larger share of votes from Brexit supporters, staving off a resurgent Lib Dem party after their EU election victory and toppling Portsmouth Labour.
Tory sources said this could give Portsmouth a stronger voice in Westminster in fighting for Brexit.
But questioned on whether his party would back an alliance with the Tories, a defiant Mr Farage told The News: ‘They (Cllr Jones and Ms Mordaunt) both voted for Mrs May’s deal, that is not Brexit.’
Hampshire man Chris Ellis, who has been named as a prospective parliamentary candidate for the Brexit Party, said the group would fight to gain seats in Westminster if Boris Johnson’s Brexit failed.
The 56-year-old businessman, who grew up around Portsmouth, said: ‘The Brexit Party is still moving forward very aggressively. We’re planning for an eventuality that we hope doesn’t come forward – Brexit getting thwarted.’
He added: ‘Whether it’s Brexit Party MPs or Tory MPs – assuming Boris Johnson’s plan gets thwarted – we need to make sure there are enough Brexit-backing MPs to get the job done.’
Portsmouth City Council, under Cllr Jones’s former leadership, was one of the first authority’s in the UK to back Brexit.
More than 58 per cent of voters in Portsmouth (57,336) voted Leave compared to 41,484 who backed Remain in 2016.