The former Brexit Party leader also said he would have accepted worker shortages to reduce net migration.
Following his admission last week that Brexit has failed, Nigel Farage – aka the godfather of Brexit – has now said he ‘regrets’ the election pact he made that helped Boris Johnson win a landslide victory in the 2019 general election.
The former Brexit Party leader had extracted candidates from the 317 seat the Tories won at the 2017 general election, as a means of giving Boris Johnson a clearer path to victory. Johnson, armed with the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done,’ went onto win an 80-seat majority. On January 31, 2020, Britain officially left the EU.
Speaking on ITV’s Peston show on May 24, Farage said he regrets doing a deal with Johnson.
“I felt at that moment in time, we just had to get it over the line. I have some regrets now, yes, of course I do.”
He also criticised what he described as a “great immigration lie that has been put by Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party.”
“The Conservatives effectively lied to the country in 2019, they’ve not delivered Brexit, and Sunak now is saying he doesn’t want us to compete with our neighbours, which is almost an admission we’re going to stick close to single market rules.
“This is not what millions voted for.”
The so-called architect of Brexit’s comments ignited hostile reaction.
“Having recently admitted that #BrexitHasFailed, Nigel Farage now says he regrets stitching up an election deal to help Boris Johnson win a landslide victory in 2019. It’s all just a cosy game for the Brexit elite. And a disaster for the rest of us,” someone tweeted.
“So, you finally admit that you’re responsible for destroying the country,” wrote another.
Speaking to Sky News this week, Farage, who is now president of the Reform Party, hinted at a possible political comeback. Responding to the release of the latest net migration figures, which show the population grew by 606,000 due to people arriving in Britain in the year to December 2022, Farage said he would have accepted “worker shortages” to reduce net migration to 50,000 as he campaigned for in the 2019 election.
“If that meant there was a realistic chance of people finding somewhere to live?” he told Beth Rigby, adding:
“A school for their kids to go to that was local people getting access to the National Health Service, then? Yes, of course.”
A ‘big lie’
He also repeated his view that the 2019 manifesto put to the country by Boris Johnson’s Tories, was a ‘big lie.’
“I stood aside in that 2019 general election, helping them to get that big majority, because I believed that perhaps finally they understood what Brexit was about,” Farage told Rigby.
“And we’ve now, four years down the road, got a Remainer, globalist Conservative Party who have betrayed that trust.”
The former UKIP leader predicted “another insurgency” was on the cards for UK politics – “whether it’ll be Reform, whether it’ll be me, whether we get a new Nick Griffin [the former leader of the far-right British National Party]”.
“I think if I stood again, it would be a much more revolutionary agenda than just Brexit,” he added.
Like the Peston conversation, the Sky Interview was subjected to mockery.
“This is how delusional the Brexiteers are. Farage would accept worker shortages if it cut migration. That does wonders for the economy – what a political brain,” wrote anti-poverty campaigner Dave Lawrence.
Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward
Image credit: YouTube screen grab
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