Tory supporters must vote tactically, Nigel Farage claims

Nigel Farage has called on Leave-backing Conservative supporters to vote tactically in the General Election.

During a rally in Peterborough, the Brexit Party leader addressed supporters about campaign strategy ahead of the election on December 12.

The Peterborough constituency was narrowly held by Labour in the June by-election, prompted by the recall of Fiona Onasanya after her conviction for perverting the course of justice.

The Brexit Party, represented by Mike Greene, lost by less than 700 votes and Peterborough has been seen as a key target for Mr Farage’s party.

Speaking to approximately 100 supporters, Mr Farage said the party was targeting Labour marginal seats but needed assistance from Tory voters.

Mr Farage previously said the Brexit Party would not stand candidates in 317 seats won by the Conservatives in the 2017 election but will still field candidates in Labour-held marginal seats such as Peterborough.

The party leader denied claims the Brexit Party will split the Leave vote and said the party’s policies appealed to people on all sides of the political spectrum, including millions of Labour supporters.

“It is said that we will split the Conservative vote, if you vote for the Brexit Party Jeremy Corbyn and the marxist mob will take the country over,” he said.

“Some of these voters will never vote Conservative, they wouldn’t vote Conservative if you paid them.”

Mr Farage later praised the work of the Liberal Democrats in encouraging tactical voting in the 2017 election and asked Conservatives to “lend their votes”.

He continued: “On both the Remain side of this and the Leave side of this, people will be working out seat by seat what the best thing to do is and in many of these seats where we are the challenger, we are appealing directly to Conservative voters.

“We stand for Brexit. We want to get this done, we need you to vote tactically. To lend us your support in those constituencies to get us over the line.”

When asked about proposals from his former ally Arron Banks for a tactical voting app that would have a Tory bias, Mr Farage said the Brexit Party has its own plans to encourage tactical voting.

The party leader said he expected a lower turnout for this election than the 2017 vote, citing a lack of interest from the general public.

Mr Farage also referenced allegations of harassment and inducements towards members of his party, which have been dismissed as “nonsense” by Boris Johnson and the Tories.

Comparing the UK to a failed state in South America, Mr Farage told the PA news agency: “Hundreds of Brexit Party candidates last week were bombarded with messages telling them they shouldn’t stand, some of them quite threatening and at the same time others offered inducements.

“I think our democracy is deep in crisis, I think our confidence in the whole system has never been lower and I think now that Brexit is just the beginning of a real radical transformation of our political system.”

When asked why he went public with allegations of inducements, Mr Farage said: “This is how power works in our country. I don’t suppose what has happened here is completely unique.

“I think what is unique is trying to stop people standing in an election and giving people choices.”

The Metropolitan Police previously said it has received two allegations of electoral fraud and malpractice in relation to the 2019 General Election.

Mr Farage added that he will fully co-operate with the police if asked for evidence but had not provided a dossier without being asked as he was busy campaigning.

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