Boris Johnson has ruled out striking an electoral pact with Nigel Farage as a senior Conservative source said the Brexit Party leader should ‘never be allowed anywhere near government’.
Mr Farage had offered the Prime Minister a ‘non-aggression pact’ at the next general election and claimed such an arrangement would make Mr Johnson ‘unstoppable’.
But a spokesman for the Prime Minister dismissed suggestions that a deal could be done between the two men as he said: ‘The PM will not be doing a deal with Nigel Farage.’
Meanwhile, a senior Tory source moved to unequivocally kill off speculation that an alliance could be agreed in the future as they launched an extraordinary attack on Mr Farage and former Ukip donor Arron Banks.
The source said: ‘Neither Nigel Farage nor Arron Banks are fit and proper persons and they should never be allowed anywhere near government.’
The comments are likely to spark a furious reaction from Mr Farage who had said his offer of a pact was only available if Mr Johnson shifted to wholeheartedly backing a No Deal Brexit.
The Prime Minister wants to keep the option of a No Deal Brexit on the table but his preference remains Britain splitting from Brussels with a deal.
The explosive remarks came amid claims that Mr Farage would agree an alliance with the Tories if his party was given a free run in 90 seats at the next election – now expected to be held in November or December.
The hardline Brexiteer said that in exchange he would not field candidates against sitting Tory MPs or in specific target constituencies.
Mr Farage wants to go after Labour seats in the Midlands, south Wales and the north of England where Ukip has performed strongly in past but where the Tories are not genuine challengers.
But any chances of a deal between Mr Farage and Mr Johnson now appear to be dead.
Boris Johnson, pictured in London yesterday, today ruled out an electoral pact with the Brexit Party
Mr Farage, pictured on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme on Monday, said a pact would make Mr Johnson ‘unstoppable’
A source told The Sun that Mr Farage ‘has had some conversations with people who are very close to Boris, not MPs or ministers to keep them discreet’.
They said: ‘They’re more to scope out whether he’s serious about a deal than actual negotiations, and the Tories now appreciate he is. It is a beginning’.
The source added: ‘It’s very simple, it’s all about the numbers. Boris knows he cannot win a majority without our help’.
Mr Farage is hopeful his party will be able to capitalise at a snap poll on Labour’s confusing Brexit position.
However, the path to a pact already appeared difficult ahead of today’s comments because of Mr Farage’s main pre-condition.
He wants there to be a No Deal Brexit because he believes that is the only way to deliver a ‘clean break’ from Brussels.
But Mr Johnson remains committed to striking a deal with the EU by the October 31 deadline.
He does not view a No Deal split with anywhere near the same level of enthusiasm as Mr Farage which was always likely to make an alliance difficult.
Mr Johnson’s decision to torch any prospect of a deal with Mr Farage is likely to spark concern among senior Tory figures.
The PM has been under pressure to do a deal with the Brexit Party to avoid the Eurosceptic vote being split when the nation goes to the polls.
But the two parties now appear destined to go head to head with Mr Farage having said that he will stand candidates in every seat if he did not like Mr Johnson’s approach to Brexit.
It sets the scene for what will be a bruising general election campaign.
It is also likely to disappoint many Tory and Brexit Party supporters.
A recent poll for The Sunday Times found that seven in 10 people who vote Conservative and eight in 10 Brexit Party backers were in favour of the two leaders joining forces.
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