On Monday, Nigel Farage made the bombshell announcement that Brexit Party candidates will not be standing in Tory-held seats in the upcoming general election.
The Brexit Party leader hinted at a potential alliance between himself and Boris Johnson by confirming that 317 candidates that had been selected, will now no longer stand.
Just days after confirming that the Brexit Party will have more than 600 candidates in the election, he said:
The Brexit Party will not contest the 317 seats the Conservatives won at the last election. If we do field 600 candidates – there will be a hung parliament.
This would surely allow the Tories to keep the seats thus ensuring Brexit will still happen and prevent the likes of Labour or the Lib Dems sweeping up the seats that might have had a split vote.
Despite Farage being accused of 'bottling it' by his critics, you would imagine that his colleagues in the party would be happy with the decision as, on paper, it would guarantee Brexit.
However, that is far from the case.
Shortly after Farage made his announcement a number of proposed Brexit Party candidates, who would have contested the seats, took to the internet to voice their frustrations.
One of the most vocal was Robert Wheal, who was due to stand in Arundel. On Tuesday morning, Wheal, who is a former Tory councillor, told Nick Ferrari on LBC Radio that Farage's decision was "absolute codswallop."
It was made very clear to us all at the first Brexit Party rally that we will put country before party and that if Farage managed to do a deal with Boris Johnson that he would agree to drop his rotten WA Agreement and take on a no-deal that we would all stand down and support him. But what we have here is absolute codswallop. Farage hasn't even got a deal. This was a golden opportunity to get Brexit. The Tories aren't offering Brexit. They're offering BRINO - Brexit in name-only. It's a classic Brussels trap. Get us in the implementation period and the only way we can get out of that is with a free trade agreement. We're paying them a billion pounds per month.
Wheal also took to Twitter to explain how angry he was, at one point claiming that he had joined the party specifically so the UK could leave the EU on a no-deal.
According to the Express and Star, Stephen Petty was due to stand in Walsall North in the West Midlands, said that he felt 'deflated' after the announcement.
I know I only had a slim chance of winning, but I was ready to have a good go. I feel a bit deflated. It’s like I’ve had the rug pulled from under me.
I don’t know what has gone on behind closed doors, or what Nigel’s reasons are for his change of heart.
My priority was never to become an MP. I’m not from a background in politics and I just want to see Brexit done. I was very much looking forward to standing but obviously it was not to be.
Darren Selkus, the Brexit Party PPC for Epping Forest, also vented his disappointment. In a lengthy blog post, Selkus detailed the efforts that had gone into his campaign and added that he didn't understand Farage's decision.
I don’t understand Nigel Farage’s decision to stand us down in Conservative seats with zero risk of a remain party winning.
I don’t understand after exposing Boris Johnson’s deal as a surrender why the Brexit Party is now backing it.
I don’t understand why we are being told to trust a man who told us thousands of times we are leaving on the 31st October to now take us out by the end of December 2020.
I don’t understand why Nigel Farage has betrayed my incredible volunteers and thousands of constituents who will have no one to vote for.
I don’t understand why 317 dedicated PPCs were the last to know they had been stood down and locked out of their Brexit Party email accounts and supporter database.
I don’t understand why you build a dedicated new Party and then sacrifice half of it without missing a step.
I don’t understand how you can then have the audacity to ask those supporters and PPCs to still help you campaign.
There is also the small issue of several former Tory MPs, who won in 2017, have since left the party for more remain focused parties, such as the Liberal Democrats and Change UK, who can call Anna Soubry and Sam Gyimah as amongst their numbers.
Ann Widdecombe, whose campaign won't be disrupted by the decision said that the party was now focused on getting a 'Brexit majority' in the House of Commons.
Our concern is not to get a Conservative majority, it's to get a Brexit majority and that can be achieved just as easily by a Conservative standing down as a Brexit Party candidate standing down.