Farage’s demand that Boris dumps his deal is politically ludicrous, says STEPHEN POLLARD

And then, when he sought to stop Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement earlier this year, he started the Brexit Party – and promptly won the European elections. But his behaviour in recent days risks undermining his previous successes and ushering in a Labour government that would be disastrous for the country. By pledging to stand Brexit Party candidates in every constituency he may well hive votes off from the Conservatives and allow Labour or the Lib Dems to come through the middle. If that happens and we wake up on December 13 with Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister, Mr Farage will – rightly – never be forgiven. 

On Friday, the Brexit Party leader offered a deal to the Conservatives. Drop Boris’s Brexit deal, he said, and he’d stand down most of his candidates. 

But it was the kind of offer that could only ever be rejected. 

The idea that Mr Johnson could simply dump his deal – a deal which next to no one thought he could get, and which is the greatest personal triumph of his career – is ludicrous. 

But the supposed offer is not just politically ridiculous. 

It is wrong on every level. 

Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage has won the battle – he risks losing the war (Image: Getty)

Mr Farage dismisses Mr Johnson’s deal as Brino: “Brexit In Name Only”. 

But it is nothing of the sort. 

The deal is very different from Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement – so different that the so-called Spartans of the European Research Group (the Brexit hardliners who scuppered Mrs May) have all backed it. 

Even Arron Banks, who funded and campaigned with Mr Farage in the 2016 referendum, has said that it must be backed – and accused his former ally of risking the entire Brexit project through his “dog in the manger” attitude, because Mr Farage wants to be a part of the TV debates between the party leaders. 

There is a feeling that, like the ex-actress Norma Desmond in the film Sunset Boulevard, Mr Farage cannot stand the thought that events have left him behind, so he is creating an alternative reality in which the rest of the Brexiteers, from Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Jacob-Rees Mogg to Steve Baker, Mark Francois and even Arron Banks have betrayed the cause – and that only he and his Brexit Party are willing to stand up for true Brexit. 

But even if one ignores this personal element, he is simply wrong on the facts. 

Theresa May

Boris's deal is very different from Mrs May's (Image: Getty)

The reason why the Brexit hardliners have come on board in support of Boris Johnson’s deal is because in crucial respects it is very different to Mrs May’s. 

First, and crucially, the Northern Ireland backstop protocol has been changed. 

Instead of Great Britain being potentially trapped into a customs union with the EU, the only customs union is within the UK. 

In addition, the Political Declaration which covers our future relations with the EU now looks to a future free trade agreement with the EU rather than the customs union. 

That means we can set our own tariffs and have our own trade policy. 

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Lord President of the Council Jacob Rees-Mogg supports the deal (Image: Getty)

And there is now no requirement for us to align our trade rules to EU rules. 

We are also only required – as is standard in free trade agreements – not to distort competition under so-called “level playing field” provisions. 

This is not Brino. 

This is Brexit and it is ludicrous posturing by Mr Farage to pretend otherwise – not least because he is chasing a fantasy. 

The idea that we can rely on WTO rules to turn leaving without a deal into a cakewalk has been repeatedly debunked.

Norma Desmond

Nigel Farage is still big – it's the politics that has got small (Image: Mondadori via Getty)

Instead of the numerous risks of leaving without a deal, we now have a workable and clear deal that all Brexiteers believe delivers what we need. 

Nigel Farage has a momentous choice to make in the next few days. 

He can take his victory, bask in the plaudits for having brought us to Brexit and focus his considerable talents on ensuring that the next stage of the negotiations are successful for Britain. 

Or he can sulk that he has been left behind, campaign against the deal and the Conservatives and run the risk of putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street and destroying both Brexit and the country. 

Which is it to be, Mr Farage? 

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