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General election 2019: Nigel Farage faces furious backlash as Brexit Party candidate claims he 'dropped us like a stone'

Rebecca Speare-Cole
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage: Getty Images

Nigel Farage is facing a furious backlash from Brexit Party candidates as one accused him of dropping candidates "like a stone".

Mr Farage announced on Monday that the party would not stand in 317 Tory-held seats after Boris Johnson flatly refused to buckle to pressure for an election pact.

Robert Wheal, who was due to stand for the Brexit Party in Arundel and South Downs, said Leave supporters could "kiss goodbye" to Brexit following the decision and vowed to spoil his ballot paper.

Speaking to LBC on Tuesday, Mr Wheal told presenter Nick Ferrari: "Half the Brexit supporters have worked their socks off for that party and he has dropped them like a stone at 12 o'clock yesterday."

It comes as Mr Farage called on the Tories to stand aside in Labour-held seats, telling BBC Breakfast: "I've just gifted the Conservative Party nearly two dozen seats and I did it because I believe in Leave."

But Mr Wheal criticised the move, saying that the Conservative Party was only offering "Brexit in name-only."

He said: "It was made very clear to us all at the first Brexit Party rally that we will put country before party and that if Farage managed to do a deal with Boris Johnson that he would agree to drop his rotten WA Agreement and take on a no-deal that we would all stand down and support him.

"But what we have here is absolute codswallop. Farage hasn't even got a deal.

"This was a golden opportunity to get Brexit. The Tories aren't offering Brexit. They're offering BRINO - Brexit in name-only."

In a series of angry tweets, Mr Wheal also accused the Brexit Party leader of putting himself ahead of the country.

"It's putting Nigel before the country. He will go down in infamy, letting down so many good people with whom he sought their trust. He is finished as a politician."

He added: "All that Farage has exposed is his duplicity to so many supporters who had put their faith in him."

His outburst comes in the wake of the former Brexit Party candidate for Harlow's decision to stand as an independent Brexiteer.

Neil Greaves said the Brexit Party leader had been "outmanoeuvred" and encouraged his fellow candidates to follow his example.

The 52-year-old said: "Nigel has let Brexiteers down ... he should be standing up for the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit.

"I don't regard Boris Johnson's deal as Brexit. It's not even close.

"Farage has been totally outmanoeuvred and out-negotiated without Boris (Johnson) even having to say anything."

The Essex constituency voted 68 per cent to leave in the EU referendum, while Conservative Robert Halfon, who won the seat by more than 7,000 votes in 2017, opted for Remain.

Mr Greaves described Mr Halfon as a "Remainer" and said pulling out of the race would mean there "won't be a Leave option for Harlow".

Fellow Brexit Party candidate Ruth Jolley said she "respected" Mr Farage's decision but was "disappointed" that the people of her South West Norfolk constituency will not be able to vote for a Brexit Party candidate.

"For me the Brexit Party was about more than Brexit," she said. "It was a chance to change politics for good and shake up our institutions."

The former civil servant, who now runs a pet care business, said she will continue to campaign for Brexit Party candidates elsewhere but will not vote in the election.

"I couldn't vote for those who are standing in my constituency in all good conscience," she said. "I couldn't vote for (local Conservative candidate and Cabinet minister) Liz Truss because I do think the Tories have negotiated a terrible deal."

Elsewhere, a Brexit Party candidate due to stand in Hendon, north-west London, has been moved to fight Jeremy Corbyn's Islington North constituency.

Yosef David, who is Jewish, said he was "delighted" to be fighting the seat, adding: "This will give me the opportunity to challenge him on his ludicrous Brexit policy as well as anti-Semitism in his party.

However, MEP Michael Heaver, who was set to stand in the Tory-held Castle Point constituency, supported Mr Farage's decision.

"Myself and hundreds of other Brexit PPCs have stood down. It is the right decision," he tweeted on Tuesday.

"The Brexit Party has put country before party. Now we must take the fight to Corbyn’s Labour and get Brexit Party MPs elected."

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