There is a risk of splitting the vote of Brexit supporters into an election that will once again pit those who want to leave the EU against those who want to stay.
Nigel Farage, leader of Britain's Brexit party, said Sunday that he would not stand for election next month, but would opt to campaign across the country against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's European Union divorce agreement.
"I will find a seat and try to get into parliament or I will better serve the cause through the length and breadth of the U.K. supporting 600 candidates, and I have decided that this latter course is the right one," he said.
Farage, an anti-European activist who has stood seven times unsuccessfully in Parliament, created the Brexit Party this year and quickly won the majority of votes in Britain in the May European elections.
From tomorrow, I will be going out to campaign across the length and breadth of this country.— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) November 3, 2019
We will explain to people why Boris’ Brexit is a betrayal of the hopes of 17.4m.
That means I have no time to fight a seat myself, but I will support 600 other people who are. pic.twitter.com/ZffTkBNi5J
His announcement this week that the party would contest all seats on Dec. 12 was seen as a possible setback for Johnson.
There is a risk of splitting the vote of Brexit supporters into an election that will once again pit those who want to leave the EU against those who want to stay, more than three years after Britain voted to leave the bloc in a referendum.
Farage previously led the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP). The threat that it could divert conservative votes played an important role in persuading then-Prime Minister David Cameron to hold the 2016 referendum.
The premier, who wants to win a new mandate to enact his Brexit deal with the bloc, said he had ruled out a settlement with all other parties because it would only make it more likely that opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would become prime minister.
With regards at failing to take the country out of the bloc by Oct. 31, Johnson told Sky News he was "deeply, deeply disappointed ... it's a matter of deep regret."
The PM laid much of the blame for the delay to Brexit on legislators, saying that there had been "bags of time" to consider and implement his reworked deal with Brussels, but Parliament had refused to do so.
As elections loom closer the Tories are at the top of the polls, but with the country still very divided over Brexit, the outcome is highly unpredictable.