Nigel Farage announces he 'will not stand in this election' - and admits the Tories are on course for a landslide

Christopher Hope
Nigel Farage has told The Telegraph he intends to 'fight for Brexit in Europe' - 2017 Getty Images

Nigel Farage will not stand as a candidate in the general election and has admitted that Theresa May is on course for a landslide, The Telegraph can disclose.

The former UK independence Party leader said in an article for The Daily Telegraph: “I have decided that I will not stand in this election but fight for Brexit in Europe.”

The news comes two days after Paul Nuttall, the party's successor, said he thought Mr Farage "will stand".

If Mr Farage had stood as a candidate it would have been the eighth time he had tried to be enter Parliament as an MP.

Mr Farage, 53, said he had been tempted to stand for Ukip in Clacton after the former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell said today he would not stand in the June 8 general election.

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall (background) said he thought Farage would stand again Credit: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

In an article for The Telegraph, said: “Perhaps even more tempting is to stand in Clacton, which is now Carswell-free, and perhaps the number one Eurosceptic constituency in the country by demographics.

“It would be a very easy win and for me, a personal vindication to get into the House of Commons after all these years of standing in election.

But he had finally come to the conclusion that he could better influence Britain’s exit from the European Union as an MEP in Strasbourg.

He said: “If I compare the platform I have in Strasbourg to being a backbench MP, there is frankly no comparison.

“The Brexit negotiations will take place in Brussels and the European Parliament will not only have a large impact on them, but ultimately will have the right of veto any deal at the end of the two-year process.

“I believe I can use my profile in European politics to put real pressure on MEPs to vote for a sensible deal with the UK. Just weeks after we are due to leave, there will be the next set of European elections.”

He added: “MEPs who are attempting to be re-elected need to feel the heat and the threat of losing their seats if they don’t back a sensible deal.

“There will be parties that campaign on a grown up ticket, and I will happily visit and speak in European capitals to drive the point home.”

Mr Farage admitted that he expected Mrs May will win a large majority after the 50-day election campaign.

Mr Farage said: “In 2015, fear of the SNP dominating a Labour government was used to drive UKIP voters to the Tories and it worked.

Farage, seen here campaigning unsuccessfully in Sandwich in 2015, has tried to become an MP seven times Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

“Today we are told that unless you vote for Mrs May, a progressive alliance of Labour, Lib Dems and the SNP will form the next Government and reverse the Brexit process.

“For the moment, there are many - including some Ukip supporters - who believe it. As the next few weeks unfold, and the sheer ineptitude of Corbyn’s Labour is witnessed by the public, the Tory poll lead will be of such a magnitude that the pro-EU progressive alliance argument will disappear.

“The certainty of a large Conservative majority and knowing that the Remainers have been trounced, will see Ukip voters coming home.

“Ukip have had a huge transformative effect on British politics, but the job is far from done. We may have helped to win the war with the referendum, but winning the peace is of equal importance.

I will help and support Paul Nuttall through this time and I expect him to emerge as a strong voice for what many millions want.”

Nigel Farage and Douglas Carswell had a huge falling out Credit: SUZANNE PLUNKETT/SUZANNE PLUNKETT

Announcing his decision not to stand, Mr Carswell said he would be voting Conservative on June 8 but has decided that “it is time for me to move on to other things”.

The Clacton MP sensationally defected from the Tories to Ukip in 2014 and became the Eurosceptic party's first elected MP in a subsequent by-election.

But he fell out spectacularly with Mr Farage and quit Ukip earlier this year to sit as an independent.

He was facing a potential challenge in the upcoming election from millionaire businessman and former Ukip funder Arron Banks, who accused him of deliberately undermining the party and Mr Farage.

In a message to constituents, Mr Carswell said: “I have done everything possible to ensure we got, and won, a referendum to leave the European Union, even changing parties and triggering a by-election to help nudge things along.

Ukip donor Arron Banks is contesting Clacton seat now vacated by Douglas Carswell Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

“Last summer, we won that referendum. Britain is going to become a sovereign country again. I have decided that I will not now be seeking re-election.

“I intend to vote Conservative on June 8 and will be offering my full support to whoever the Clacton constituency Conservatives select as their candidate.”

Mr Carswell, 45, was first elected Conservative MP for Harwich in 2005 and has represented Clacton in Parliament since 2010 following boundary changes.

He had a solid 12,000 majority as a Conservative in the 2010 election, holding the seat by almost 3,500 votes for Ukip in 2015.

Mr Banks told The Telegraph he would have stepped down for Mr Farage to stand in Clacton.

He said: "I am standing but I am waiting for a decision in Ukip if they want me to run as their candidate."

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