The Brexit Party is facing a major dilemma, after one of its candidates dropped out of the general election race in a key marginal Conservative seat.
According to Portsmouth News, the party’s candidate for Portsmouth South has dropped out of the running, leaving the party with a stark choice – appoint a new candidate to fight the seat, or risk splitting the pro-Brexit vote.
Nigel Farage’s candidate, Susan Lloyd, said that she was leaving the race due to “work commitments”. However, polling by Survation shows that the Brexit Party is in danger of splitting the Leave vote if they stand a candidate in the constituency.
Survation polling shows that the party is expected win 14% in Portsmouth South, if it stands a candidate. It’s likely this would deprive the Tories of the seat, as they’re currently projected to end up just 3% behind the Liberal Democrats.
Indeed, Portsmouth South reflects a broader national conflict between the two pro-Brexit parties. While ardent Leavers have revelled in Farage’s ability to recruit a 600-strong list of MP candidates, some Brexiteers have urged Farage to stand down some of his candidates in key marginal constituencies, so that he doesn’t risk Boris Johnson’s ability to win a majority.
Now, this national debate is playing out at a local level. Tory candidate Donna Jones sent a tweet to Farage, urging him not to stand a replacement candidate. She said:
“Please don’t stand a candidate against me, that way we will have one more MP elected who will #GetBrexitDone”.
But a Brexit Party spokesman rejected this plea for a pact, saying: “it shows the sheer entitlement of the Tories. They had three-and-a-half years to sort this out and they’ve done nothing.
“If [the Tories] want to stand us down, what do [they] give us?”
The fractures in the Brexit movement don’t look like healing, ahead of 12th December.