Sajid Javid has refused to rule out a pact with the Brexit Party in a general election, insisting the Conservative Party does not “need” electoral alliances.
Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show following the announcement of Amber Rudd’s resignation on Saturday evening, the Chancellor was asked whether he would feel comfortable working with Nigel Farage after striking an election deal.
Mr Javid said he supported holding a general election despite “sad” timing, saying: “We absolutely now need an election. It is being forced on us because Parliament is trying to kneecap these negotiations.”
He was then repeatedly asked to publicly rule out a pact with the Brexit Party, which Mr Johnson is believed to have privately ruled out.
Mr Javid said: “We don’t need an electoral alliance with anyone. We can stand on our own two feet, put our message across.
“The picture our opponents are painting of us, of course they would paint a false picture. We are a proud centre right, moderate, one nation party.
“There is nothing extremist about wanting to meet the will of the British people on a simple question which was do you want to leave the EU or not.
“We are not in an election yet. I am clear we do not need an alliance with anyone.”
Shortly after the programme, expelled Conservative MP Sam Gyimah criticised his former party for purging moderate MPs as an election strategy to avoid a Brexit Party pact.
Speaking to John Pienaar on Radio Five Live, he said: “What tipped Conservative MPs over the edge this week was the realisation that the government was playing games to run down the clock and deliver a no-deal Brexit for which it has no mandate, and that is scandalous.
“I know there is a serious level of disquiet about what the government is doing, not just in terms of no-deal but an explicit attempt to purge the Conservative Party of moderate MPs because they see that as the way to steal the Brexit Party votes from underneath Nigel Farage.
“If the Conservative Party can become more like the Brexit Party, then they hope to be able to get his votes without a pact.”