NIGEL FARAGE was the biggest loser of the general election as the Brexit Party failed to win a single seat, despite the leader insisting he was happy with the party’s “influence” to help Boris Johnson secure a majority. But did Nigel Farage save Brexit? THIS POLL HAS NOW CLOSED.
The Conservative Party sailed to victory in the election with 364 MPs. This is 46 more than at the 2017 election. But Mr Farage claimed that majority would not exist if his party had not withdrawn 317 candidates from Conservative-held seats.
He told the BBC after the exit poll was announced: “I can tell you that if we had stood in every seat in the country it would have been a hung Parliament.
“That would have been a disaster.”
Mr Farage added: “I was determined, in this election, we would use our influence to stop a second referendum.
“That overwhelmingly was behind our decision to stand down in 317 seats.
“Jo Swinson herself said that effectively poleaxed her campaign. And then taking the fight to Labour was important.”
Mr Farage also shared his disappointment at not winning any seats, despite the attempt to snatch traditional Labour voters in the north.
He said: “Would I like to have won a few seats? Yes of course.”
One seat the Brexit Party had been hoping for was the constituency of Hartlepool.
But Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice failed in his bid to win.
MEP Mr Tice received 10,603 votes, which was around a thousand fewer than the Conservative candidate and nearly 5,000 fewer than Labour’s Mike Hill, who won the seat.
However, Mr Farage added: “I killed the Liberal Democrats and I hurt the Labour Party.”
He was also asked if the Brexit Party was now “finished”.
Mr Farage said: “We’ve used our influence, that’s the important thing. If we get Brexit… we’ve done a good job.
After January 31, Britain will enter a transition period during which it will negotiate a new relationship with the EU.
This can run until the end of 2022, but the Conservatives have pledged not to extend the transition beyond 2020.
A big majority may allow Johnson to extend trade talks beyond 2020 because he could overrule the Brexit hardline European Research Group (ERG) faction in the party.
But Mr Farage said Mr Johnson’s majority may not secure him a hard Brexit.
He said: “The bigger the Tory majority of course the less influence over this the ERG and Eurosceptics will have.
“It will be called Brexit but it won’t really be.”
In his victory speech, Mr Johnson said “we smashed the roadblock, we ended the gridlock”.
He also celebrated “the biggest Conservative majority since the 1980s” with party workers in central London.
He then added: “I have a message to all those who voted for us yesterday, especially those who voted for us Conservatives, one nation Conservatives for the first time.
“You may only have lent us your vote and you may not think of yourself as a natural Tory.“