LONDON — Boris Johnson on Friday dismissed the prospect of an electoral pact with Nigel Farage.
The U.K. prime minister said a tie-up ahead of the December 12 election could hand Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn the keys to Downing Street and urged anti-EU voters to back the Conservatives or risk a Labour government.
“The difficulty about doing deals with any other party is that … simply risks putting Jeremy Corbyn into No. 10,” he told BBC News. “I will be very clear that voting for any other party than this government, this Conservative government, this One Nation Conservative Government, is basically tantamount to putting Jeremy Corbyn in.”
On Friday morning Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said he could stand his troops down in hundreds of seats if Johnson ditches the deal he clinched with Brussels.
At an election campaign launch in Westminster, Farage called on the prime minister to “build a Leave alliance” to push for a free-trade agreement with the EU. Otherwise, he said, the Brexit Party would field candidates in 500 seats across England, Scotland and Wales.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program on Friday: “We are not interested in doing any pacts with the Brexit Party, or, indeed with anybody else. We are in this to win it.”
On Thursday night, U.S. President Donald Trump urged Johnson and Farage to work together.
“I’d like to see you and Boris get together ’cause you would really have some numbers because you did fantastically in the last election,” he told Farage on an LBC Radio phone in. “If you and he get together it’s, you know, unstoppable force.”
Elsewhere, Johnson insisted the U.K. would leave the EU by the end of January if he wins the general election. He said parliament had an “oven-ready” deal which it had already shown support for, adding: “We will be able to go very very soon, within, the next few weeks. So there will certainly be no question of any further delay.”