With the conservative party in chaos due to its botched handling of Brexit, many - including Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage - suspect that, if an election is held in the not-too-distant future, Boris Johnson and his fellow Tories won't come out on top. Farage has long maintained that if the UK remains a member of the EU after Oct. 31, something that looks increasingly likely, then many of those who voted 'Leave' during the Brexit referendum will defect from the conservatives to the Brexit Party.
And with Prime Minister Boris Johnson having already lost his majority thanks to expulsions and defections, Farage has offered his one-time ally an election pact, according to Reuters, in order to give him a chance to win a majority. Otherwise, he suspects Johnson's conservatives will "take a real kicking" in the upcoming vote.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage offered Prime Minister Boris Johnson an election pact on Wednesday but warned that unless there was a clean-break Brexit, the Conservatives would take a "real kicking" in any election and could not win a majority.
Johnson, who has lost his working majority in the House of Commons, wants to hold an election but parliament has ordered him to ask the EU to delay Brexit until 2020 unless he can strike a transition deal at an EU summit on Oct. 17-18.
Even though Johnson's pleas for another general election have been rebuffed so far, Farage said it's clear that there will be an election soon. But when that vote is held, Labour and the Conservatives will find that traditional party loyalties have shifted thanks to the Brexit impasse.
"If we go beyond the 31st of October and we are still a member of the European Union - which looks increasingly likely - then a lot of votes will shift from the Conservative Party to the Brexit Party," Farage told reporters.
"The Conservatives will take a real kicking from Nov. 1 onwards," he said. "I very much hope that Boris Johnson will simply look at the numbers. If we stand against them, they cannot win a majority."
Farage said the Brexit Party had reached out to the Conservative Party about a possible non-aggression pact during the next election, but that the Brexit Party had not yet received a clear response. After emerging as the biggest gainer in May’s European Parliament elections, Farage warned that his party would likely win seats in the Midlands, south Wales and northern England, stealing votes from both Labour and the Conservatives, during another vote.
Asked what he thinks will happen during the coming weeks, Farage said he expects the EU will make some last-minute concessions to Johnson before Oct. 31, and that Johnson would try and push the deal through parliament.
"There is going to be give from Brussels - there is going to be some sort of change to the Withdrawal Agreement on the backstop but I suspect absolutely nothing else," he said.
"My sense is that he (Johnson) comes back to the House of Commons and tries to get that through," he said.
But if the past is any guide, Johnson likely won't succeed. At that point, with Parliament demanding another delay, an election will likely become inevitable.