Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage warned House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg’s his “optimism” Brexit will happen on October 31 was “premature”. He said Mr Rees-Mogg’s claim a vote for the Brexit Party would be “a vote effectively for Jeremy Corbyn” was “nonsense”.
His remarks come after Mr Rees-Mogg urged supporters of Mr Farage’s Brexit Party to return to the Tory fold.
But Mr Farage insisted a “pact with the Brexit Party is the best solution to the Tories problems”.
Writing for the Daily Telegraph, he said: “I know Rees-Mogg would like me to simply rejoin his party, but I could never do this if the government of which he is a member pursues the withdrawal agreement.
“Over the years, I have heard it said countless times by political commentators and MPs that the Ukip or Brexit Party fox has been shot.
“I want to caution people like Rees-Mogg from making the same mistake. The Brexit Party is not going to just disappear because the Tories want it to do so.”
Mr Farage questioned whether Mr Johnson would deliver a “clean-Brexit Brexit” and asked Mr Rees-Mogg would he be happy with a “confected fudge”.
He said: “I’m delighted he is able to say: ‘We now have a Conservative leader who shares the Brexit Party’s attachment to the importance of Brexit’.
“My question is: does the Conservative party truly share my party’s desire to leave the EU with a clean-break Brexit?
“Or would Rees-Mogg and others secretly be happy with some confected fudge that passes as Brexit?”
Earlier this week Mr Rees-Mogg praised Mr Farage for his work in politics, claiming he is the most important political figure outside of Parliament.
But he urged Brexiteers to return to the Conservative Party, warning a Brexit Party vote would hand the keys to Number 10 to Jeremy Corbyn.
Speaking at a Telegraph event, Mr Rees-Mogg said Tory and Brexit Party supporters “all want the same thing – to leave the EU”.
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This, he said, risked being thwarted, as increased support for the Brexit Party may enable Labour to win a general election.
But Mr Farage hit back saying: “As for his idea that voting for the Brexit Party will hand the keys of No 10 to Corbyn, let’s examine some facts.
“There are 5 million Labour supporters who voted for Brexit. Many live in parts of the North of England and in South Wales which will never, ever vote Tory.
“Having himself stood in the solidly Labour seat of Central Fife in 1997, Rees-Mogg knows exactly the type of constituency I am talking about.
“By contrast, in the latest European elections, the Brexit Party – which had only existed for a matter of weeks – attracted politically diverse support from all over Britain.
“The Tories could never replicate this, and they know it.”
In a direct warning to Mr Rees-Mogg, he added: “I urge him to impress upon Boris Johnson and his party that if the Tories don’t form a pact with the Brexit Party at the next election, it is they who will be saddling the country with a Corbyn administration.
EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker has insisted that “we can have a deal” on Brexit ahead of the Halloween deadline.
But the European Commission president was unable to put the prospects at more than 50/50 when asked by Sky News in an interview broadcast on Thursday.
Mr Juncker met with Mr ohnson in Luxembourg for Brexit discussions on Monday, before the Prime Minister headed for his ill-fated meeting with his Luxembourg counterpart Xavier Bettel.
The EU chief insisted his meeting with the Prime Minister was “rather positive”, adding: “We can have a deal.”
A UK Government spokesman said there had been “detailed discussions” in recent weeks with the European Commission’s Taskforce 50 – the unit dealing with Brexit.
He said: “We will table formal written solutions when we are ready, not according to an artificial deadline, and when the EU is clear that it will engage constructively on them as a replacement for the backstop.”‘
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