While alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson finds himself skewered by what should have been a straightforward interview on BBC Breakfast - Naga Munchetty did the skewering by asking simply “How are you relatable?” - his party has been dragged into the mire by accusations from Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage of bribery and corruption. Nige is being leaned on by the Tories. And he’s not happy.
Squeaky bribery finger up the bum time
The Farage Falange Fringe, following pressure from the Tories, along with the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press, has pulled more than 300 of its candidates in order to help the Tories retain seats they already hold. Now the Tories want most of the rest pulled, because they are likely to abstract more of their votes than Labour ones.
So far, Farage has stood his ground, perhaps because of all those disgruntled Brexit Party candidates who think they’ve been conned. But back have come the Tories, and just how forceful the pressure is becoming can be deduced from Nige’s Twitter rants - such as “In a free democracy people should be allowed to stand for public office without intimidation … The intimidation of Brexit Party candidates this week has been worthy of a failed South American state”. Why, did he get abducted at gunpoint and shot?
And very soon afterwards came the direct allegations. “Even Boris Johnson’s Chief Strategic Adviser Sir Edward Lister is calling our candidates and offering them jobs if they withdraw. The system is corrupt and broken”. The Mirror has reported on the ruckus.
Tice - serious allegations
“Sir Edward and the Conservative party last night denied the claims, with Tory chairman James Cleverly branding them ‘completely unfounded’ on BBC Question Time. Sources close to Mr Farage said he was considering reporting his allegations to the police. Mr Farage said: ‘What we’re seeing is the most incredible, aggressive intimidation of our candidates’” told the paper’s report. Which could be serious for the Tories.
Brexit Party Chairman Richard Tice has taken time out from threatening legal action against his opponents to claim “Our people have been offered jobs and titles to stand down as candidates on the last day of nominations, as part of a concerted campaign to undermine our party”. On the record. A very serious allegation.
Lewis Goodall of Sky News has suggested that Bozo’s chief polecat is being blamed: “Nigel Farage alleges that figures from Number 10 (strongly hinting at Dominic Cummings) tried to offer eight senior figures in the Brexit Party peerages if they got him to agree to stand down in remaining seats”. And one Tweeter has been looking up the legal points.
The wording is “Any person who corruptly induces or procures any other person to withdraw from being a candidate at an election, in consideration of any payment, or promise of payment, and any person withdrawing in pursuance of the inducement or procurement, shall be guilty of an illegal payment”. Peers can claim expenses.
So by inference, a promise of a peerage is a promise of payment. And while this may bring one of those Hamilton v Fayed moments - the wish that they could both lose - if what Farage and Tice have alleged is true, the Tories are in deep shit.
Cummings and Bozo have broken the law before. This time, it might be more serious.
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