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Nigel Farage coming to Telford

By Mark Andrews | North Shropshire | Politics | Published:

Nigel Farage will be in Telford tomorrow night, where he will repeat his call for an electoral pact with the Conservatives.

Nigel Farage

His Brexit Party holds its West Midland conference at Telford International Centre tomorrow night, where he will once more call for a 'non aggression pact' with the Conservatives providing they agree to leave the EU without a deal.

But his offer has been met with mixed reaction from Conservative MPs in Shropshire.

See also:

Nigel Farage: We'll back Boris Johnson for a clean-break Brexit

Mr Farage will unveil his party's candidates for the next General Election, declaring that his party is ready to fight every seat in the country. However, he said he would be willing to work with the Conservatives and withdraw candidates where they were under threat from Labour or the Liberal Democrats providing that the Tories backed a 'clean break' from the European Union.

His proposal had previously been rejected by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, said it was reckless of Mr Farage to be publicly seeking a no-deal Brexit.

Daniel Kawczynski

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"I think it is wholly irresponsible at this stage to actively calling for a no-deal, it's a particular outcome which is to be avoided if we can," he said.

"The Prime Minister is trying very hard to secure a deal that will get through the House of Commons, which I hope will be agreed as long as something can be done with the Northern Ireland backstop, and to call for a no-deal while that is going on is irresponsible.

"As a Conservative I would not be in favour of a pact of that nature, even if it did mean the Brexit party not running candidates against us."

Mr Kawczynski said the mood among constituents was that people wanted to leave the EU, but would prefer to do so with a deal if one could be reached.

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He said: "Whatever happens, whether we leave with or without a deal, we will have years of ongoing negotiations with the European Union ahead of us, and I don't believe leaving without a deal is the best way to start that process.

"We should strain every sinew to get a deal, but if that doesn't work, if the EU is unprepared to understand our concerns about the Northern Ireland backstop, then we should leave without a deal, but we should strive to avoid that."

Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire said he did not know enough about Mr Farage's proposals to comment in detail, but said it was important to avoid splitting the pro-Brexit vote as had happened at the by-elections in Peterborough and Brecon and Radnorshire.

Owen Paterson

"I don't know the precise mechanics of what the Brexit Party is proposing, but it is important that the pro-leave vote is not split between two or more parties, while the pro-remain vote is unified around a single party as happened in Peterborough," he said.

"We are seeing a marked shift in British politics. It used to be about how you ran the economy, but now it's swung through 90 degrees, and now it's about who runs the country – either by elected politicians you can elect or remove through a general election, or unelected technocrats responsible to a foreign bureaucracy.

"The important thing is to deliver a proper Brexit by October 31, and then there will be no reason to vote for the Brexit Party, allowing all those loyal Conservatives to return to the Conservative Party."

Telford MP Lucy Allan said there was a sense of frustration among people in the area that Britain was still in the EU, and thought there would be a big turnout at tomorrow's event.

Lucy Allan

“Telford voted to leave in the EU referendum and listening to what my residents have to say it is quite clear that people, no matter how they voted in the referendum, believe we must now leave," she said.

“The Prime Minister has committed to leaving on October 31 and it is essential that we stick to that commitment to restore trust in democracy. Many voters in Telford feel that Parliament has let them down and I am sure the event on Friday will be well attended.”

Mark Pritchard

Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin added: "I like Nigel, but I'm afraid anyone supporting the Brexit Party will risk putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street through the back door, wrecking the UK economies and stopping Brexit altogether."

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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