Nigel Farage announced yesterday that the Brexit Party will not stand in the 317 seats won by the Conservatives at the 2017 general election.
The Conservatives would have been fairly confident of holding those seats even with the Brexit Party standing, nevertheless it makes the task of winning a majority a touch easier.
CCHQ can divert resources intended to fight marginal Tory-held seats in Leave voting areas to fighting Labour-held seats in Leave voting areas…the seats where the Brexit Party is still standing…
The biggest positive impact of the Farage announcement on Conservative hopes of winning a majority is the signal it sends to Leave voters: Boris’s deal might not be perfect but it’s good enough to not contest the Tories in vast swathes of country.
Add to that the fact that Farage himself isn’t standing to be an MP – which many light followers of politics may have understood as the Brexit Party saying they’re not standing at all – and the party that romped to victory at the EU elections earlier this year looks more and more like a paper-candidate proposition.
The Liberal Democrats have immediately sought to capitalise on the announcement by claiming that there is now no difference between the Conservative Party and the Brexit Party; they hope in Tory vs Lib Dem seats that this claim will help those who voted Remain in ‘16 and Conservative in ‘17 (and perhaps Lib Dem in the Euros) to vote Swinson and Stop Brexit at the general on 12th December.