A top aide to Boris Johnson last night denied allegations of “political corruption” after Nigel Farage claimed Downing Street had offered Brexit Party candidates peerages not to stand in the election.
It came after Mr Farage said that Brexit Party candidates were being subjected to “Venezuelan-style” intimidation by the Conservative Party, in order to give Mr Johnson an easier path to No 10.
Mr Farage said: “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.”
Sir Edward and the Conservative party last night denied the claims.
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.”
The ex-UKIP leader said earlier this week that he would stand down candidates in 317 seats the Conservatives won at the last general election in order to not split the Brexit vote.
Two of Mr Farage’s candidates, Dudley North hopeful Rupert Lowe and Andy Wood, who was due to fight Hove, withdrew just before the 4pm deadline for nominations – citing fears of splitting the Leave vote.
Speaking in Hull, which in a tweet he mistakenly placed in South Yorkshire rather than East Yorkshire, Mr Farage unveiled candidates including ex-Apprentice contestant Michelle Dewberry.
He apologised for asking voters to back the Tories but said he has done “what was right for the country”.
Mr Farage added that he thought that the Tories would be grateful after he withdrew candidates in 317 seats the Conservatives won in the last election, but said that Mr Johnson’s party had shown “a refusal on their part to give an inch” since the announcement.
Yesterday Mr Farage confirmed he would not vote in the election, saying he wouldn’t vote Tory despite standing aside for them in his Kent seat.
Labour chair Ian Lavery said: “It looks like Boris Johnson is trying to stitch-up this election by offering jobs to Brexit party candidates to get them to stand down.
“This gives a whiff of the corrupt way the establishment works.
“We can’t allow the Tories to run the country a minute longer.”
A Conservative source said: “Nigel can’t deliver Brexit, but he could end up blocking it.
“His outburst is a result of this fact dawning on him.”
A Conservative Party spokesman said: “Neither the Conservative party, nor its officials have offered Brexit Party candidates jobs or peerages – we don’t do electoral pacts.
“The only way to get Brexit done is to vote for your local Conservative candidate, otherwise the country runs the risk of another deadlocked parliament, or even worse a Labour/ SNP coalition led by Jeremy Corbyn who would subject Britain to two referendums in 2020.”