Ann Widdecombe: Tories offered me a Brexit role if I stood down

Friday, November 15, 2019

Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe has said Downing Street offered her a role in Brexit negotiations in exchange for her withdrawal as an election candidate.

It comes after party leader Nigel Farage accused senior figures in Number 10 of using tactics "bordering on corruption" and offering peerages and jobs to his candidates in return for Labour-marginal seats.

He said it in a video posted on Twitter, captioned: "Politics in this country is broken and corrupt".

The Conservatives have denied the claims but Ms Widdecombe told talkRADIO she had received two phone calls.

She is standing in the Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport constituency alongside James Ellwood (Green Party), Luke Pollard (Labour), Graham Reed (Liberal Democrats), Rebecca Smith (Conservatives).

“I was rung twice by somebody in Number 10, first of all saying that it would be all my fault if we lost Plymouth Devonport.

“They then rang me back to say that if I did stand down, I would ‘play a role in the negotiations’. That was the phrase, nothing more explicit than that,” she told Julia Hartley-Brewer.

WATCH: Nigel Farage says UK politics is "broken and corrupt"

The former Tory MP continued: “I said, look, I’ve played no role in the Conservative Party for donkey’s years, you’re not going to flatter me and butter me up now.”

The Brexit Party has withdrawn candidates from 317 Conservative-held seats in a bid to give leave voters a clearer choice and secure a pro-Brexit majority.

Mr Farage said the move “put country before party” but he then faced pressure to stand down more contenders in Labour marginals.

However, he asked that in return, the Conservatives pulled candidates in around 30 leave constituencies represented by remain Labour MPs.

Boris Johnson rejected the offer, saying the “only way” to deliver Brexit was to vote Conservative.

Ms Widdecombe said of Mr Johnson: “It was an extremely good bargain, he was too proud to take it so therefore he must also accept the consequences.”

Read more

Nigel Farage: I was offered a peerage but I’m not for sale

General election: Full list of Remain alliance seats

talkRADIO: Your election station - listen live