Prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) for the Brexit Party have reacted furiously to Nigel Farage‘s decision not to contest more than 300 constituencies, in an informal general election pact with the Conservative Party.
The party's founder and leader, who has tried and failed to become an MP seven times, said the party would withdraw from the race in 317 seats to help Boris Johnson deliver Brexit.
Accusing Mr Farage of "letting Brexiteers down", Neil Greaves said he now intended to stand as an independent in his Harlow constituency.
“He should be standing up for the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit,” the 52-year-old said, adding that Mr Farage had "been totally outmanoeuvred and out-negotiated without Boris even having to say anything.”
Caroline Coram, who was running in Sleaford in Lincolnshire, tweeted that she feared Mr Farage’s move “will not deliver the expected result”.
She added: “I predict another hung parliament and more wrangling over Deal and No Deal.”
Darren Selkus, who had been the Brexit Party PPC in Epping Forest said: “I don’t understand after exposing Boris Johnson’s deal as a surrender why the Brexit Party is now backing it."
In a statement posted to his website, Mr Selkus said he had been left with no one to vote for.
Mr Farage had "betrayed my incredible volunteers and thousands of constituents who will have no one to vote for," he said, adding: "I don’t understand why you build a dedicated new party and then sacrifice half of it without missing a step.”
Claire Mowbray, who had intended to contest Maidenhead, the constituency held by former prime minister Theresa May, tweeted that she was "very disappointed" by the decision.
Another candidate, Wayne Bayley of Crawley, appeared to tweet that Mr Farage “owes me over TEN GRAND” after he paid a campaign coordinator to organise his bid to become an MP. It added that the Brexit Party founder had “sold us all down the river”.
There is some confusion over the tweets, as two accounts exist, both of which claim to be Mr Bayley’s legitimate Twitter presence. The one quoted above has had significantly more activity and interactions since the Brexit Party announced Mr Bayley would be its PPC. The Independent has contacted both accounts and the Brexit Party for comment.
Others in the party were more understanding of Mr Farage’s motives.
Marlene Godwin, until yesterday the PPC in Eastleigh in Hampshire, told her Facebook followers: “Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement. it was never in my plan to be a politician but as a Brexiteer I stood up and was counted.
“Onwards now to the GE where I will ask you to please vote for the leave candidate, who is a Conservative. To win the Brexit we long for, it requires us to do things we may find hard at the time. But it is always country before any personal gain.”
Ahmad Malik, in Buckinghamshire, said he would remain loyal to the party “and would vote for them if I could”.
Annunziata Rees-Mogg, a leading Brexit Party figure and the wife of Brexiteer Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, said Mr Farage’s move was “the right decision for our country”.
She added: “United we stand, divided we fall. Brexit must be delivered.”