The Brexit Party is on course to flop and lose every single seat it contests in December’s crunch election, a respected political academic claims.
Nigel Farage is at risk of ‘damaging his legacy’ as the politician who swung the 2016 Leave decision by fielding some 600 candidates, who professor Matthew Goodwin believes will eat into the Conservative vote.
He reckons this could sink Boris Johnson‘s chances of clinching a majority and thus hamstring his Brexit deal passing through Parliament.
But Mr Farage has rubbished this prediction and told MailOnline that his party will win over Labour Leavers who would never stomach voting for the Tories.
Nigel Farage (pictured at an election rally in the North East this week) is at risk of ‘damaging his legacy’ as the politician who swung the 2016 Leave decision by fielding some 600 candidates, according to professor Matthew Goodwin
The academic reckons this could sink Boris Johnson’s (pictured at Tayto Castle crisp factory) chances of clinching a majority and thus hamstring his Brexit deal passing through Parliament
Prof Goodwin told the Telegraph’s Brexit Podcast: ‘I don’t think the Brexit Party will win any MPs…
‘I think there’s something else Farage could do. He could go down in history as the most influential politician of the modern era.
‘He could go down as the architect of our Brexit moment by simply instructing his supporters to vote for the Conservative Party and vote for a pragmatic version of Brexit.’
But, hitting back, Mr Farage told MailOnline: ‘All the evidence is that it’s the Labour Leave vote that’s coming to us, a group of people that for cultural reasons will never vote Tory.
‘The same happened when I was UKIP leader in 2015 and the Conservatives won a majority.’
However Prof Goodwin, an expert and author about populism, dispelled this ‘myth’, and said the Brexit Party’s grassroots are overwhelmingly ex-Tories.
He said: ‘The more candidates they stand, the more they risk jeopardising Brexit and a Conservative majority.
The latest poll puts the Conservatives at 36 per cent, 11 points of Labour. The Brexit Party is flagging on 11 per cent
Mr Farage (pictured on the campaign stump in Workington) told MailOnline that his party will win over Labour Leavers who would never vote for the Tories
‘It is not true that the majority of Brexit Party supporters are Labour leavers, that is a myth.
‘Most are disillusioned Conservatives and Boris Johnson is already squeezing that vote down.’
The leading academic pointed to uber-marginal Labour Leave seats such as Dudley North, which has a wafer thin 22-vote majority and is crucial for the Tories to win on December 12.
But Prof Goodwin said the Brexit Party, which is standing former Southampton FC chairman Rupert Lowe, could split the Leave vote and pave the way for a Labour victory.
To prevent Remain parties profiting from a divide in the Brexiteer vote, Mr Farage has suggested a ‘Leave alliance’, but the Prime Minister has poured cold water on any notion of a pact.
And the arch-Eurosceptic was dealt another blow yesterday when Peter Udale, the Brexit Party candidate in the Cotswolds, announced he was standing down and throwing his weight behind Mr Johnson.
Citing Jeremy Corbyn as the biggest ‘threat’, Mr Udale told the Telegraph: ‘I therefore believe it is fundamentally wrong for the Brexit Party, which is strongly patriotic and has a deep allegiance to our union, to stand candidates in constituencies where the Tories have a chance of winning.’
The Brexit Party stormed on to the political scene in May when they thumped the other parties to win the European elections.
To prevent Remain parties profiting from a split in the Brexit vote, Mr Farage has suggested a ‘Leave alliance’, but the Prime Minister has poured cold water on any notion of a pact
But since then their poll numbers have dwindled and are now flagging on 11 per cent.
Because of the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system, Prof Goodwin claims this is unlikely to translate into any seats this winter.
Despite a series of wobbles on the opening day of the campaign, a YouGov survey put the Conservatives 11 points ahead of Labour on 36 per cent.
Yet the University of Kent academic warned that a large slice of the electorate is still undecided and many will change their minds in the run up to polling day.
Mr Farage, who has unsuccessfully stood for Parliament seven times, has said he will not be a candidate this time so he is not hunkered down in one constituency but can criss-cross the country supporting Brexit Party candidates.
He has organised some 60 campaign events, which largely comprise of mass rallies which proved highly effective in the European elections.