A SHORT-LIVED candidate for the Brexit Party in Carlisle said he supports the decision by leader Nigel Farage to stand down candidates for the General Election.

The move comes days after Mr Farage visited the north and west of the county to show his support for contenders as national campaigning got underway.

With just days to go until nominations close, the Brexit Party has said it will not field candidates in the 317 seats won by the Conservatives in 2017 - meaning it will not be contesting Carlisle, Copeland and Penrith and the Border.

Speaking after being asked to stand down, the Brexit Party’s former Carlisle candidate, John Blaylock, said: “It was an incredible honour to be selected as the Brexit Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Carlisle and the support I have received from our local electorate has been overwhelming.

“However, the role was never about me. It was about our great border city, about our nation, and about the best way forward to achieve the Brexit we voted for. The Brexit we deserve.

“It came as no surprise to me to be asked to stand down, and I wholeheartedly support the decision Nigel Farage has made.

“Voters now have a clear choice at the polls without any worry of ‘splitting’ of the leave vote.

“They can vote for the Conservative candidate in areas where those seats are already held by them, and for the Brexit Party candidate in the rest.

“After three and a half years of dither and delay, this will finally allow our electorate to vote a real ‘Leave’ parliament into Westminster and see the majority decision of the 2016 referendum finally delivered.”

Mr Blaylock also addressed concerns over rival Conservative candidate John Stevenson.

“I understand the concern many will have in voting for John Stevenson, a committed remainer who did his best to stop us leaving on World Trade Organisation terms on 29th March.

“However, I have recently had sight of letters, signed by John, where he has pledged he will no longer block the will of the 60.1 per cent majority of the Carlisle electorate, who voted to leave.

“Whether he can be trusted to deliver on that pledge is for others to decide, and I hope he will make a public declaration to that effect during his campaign.

“Whatever he chooses to do, the Brexit Party will still be here to hold him to account.

“We may have stepped back in Carlisle, for now, and for the good of our nation, but we are not going away. We are here for the long term to ensure that the future of British politics are changed for good.”

Responding to the news, Carlisle’s Liberal Democrat candidate Julia Aglionby said: “Boris Johnson’s Conservatives and the Brexit party are now one and the same.

“Both want to see an extreme Brexit that will damage our local economy, public services and limit opportunities for our children and grandchildren.

“I am the only remain candidate in Carlisle. Voters in Carlisle have a historic opportunity at this election to elect a Liberal Democrat MP, stop Brexit and build a brighter future for our country.”

Mr Stevenson, who also faces opposition from Labour’s Ruth Alcroft, said: “It is up to individual parties on whether or not they wish to stand candidates.

“However, the Conservatives have a clear agenda in this General Election, with a plan to leave the EU in early 2020.

“I’ve represented Carlisle for the last nine years, and I’ll be campaigning on a number of local issues, not just Brexit.”

In the west of the county, Michael Taylor had been announced as the party’s new prospective candidate for Copeland only last week, after the original candidate David Walker was moved to stand for Workington.

Mrs Harrison, Copeland’s Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate, said: “Nigel Farage’s decision to stand down his candidate in Copeland recognises my commitment to respect the referendum, ensure we leave the EU and get Brexit done.”

Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the seat, Tony Lywood, added: “Nigel Farage has said time after time that Johnson’s deal is a bad deal. He takes the view that it is worse than Theresa May’s deal. I agree with him as it is a bad deal. We believe that the people should have the final say in how we leave with an option to remain.

“I’ve been out in the constituency and have talked to hundreds and hundreds of people and what has become clear to me is that many leave supporters will not bring themselves to vote conservative because they realise that there are many other issues at stake; like the NHS, nuclear power, the lack of police, cuts in our schools and underfunded care for our elderly.”

Mr Farage said on Monday that he took the “difficult decision” to stand candidates down, amid fears that it could split the Brexit vote, leading to a hung parliament and a second referendum.

“We’ve decided ourselves that we absolutely have to put country before party and take the fight to Labour,” he said.

  • The candidates standing for Carlisle are: John Stevenson (Cons), Ruth Alcroft (Labour) and Julia Aglionby (Lib Dem).
  • The candidates standing for Copeland are: Trudy Harrison (Cons), Tony Lywood (Labour), John Studholme (Lib Dem) and Jack Lenox (Green).
  • The candidates standing for Workington are: Sue Hayman (Labour, Mark Jenkinson (Cons), Neil Hughes (Lib Dem), Nicky Cockburn (Independent), Jill Perry (Green), Roy Ivinson (Independent) and David Walker (Brexit Party).