Nigel Farage has said the Brexit Party will not contest the 317 seats won by the Conservatives at the last general election. 

Mr Farage said he would be focusing the Brexit Party’s efforts on Labour-held seats.

“I will tell you now exactly what we are going to do,” he told supporters in Hartlepool.

“The Brexit Party will not contest the 317 seats the Conservatives won at the last election.

“But what we will do is concentrate our total effort into all the seats that are held by the Labour Party, who have completely broken their manifesto pledge in 2017 to respect the result of the referendum.

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“And we will also take on the rest of the Remainer parties. We will stand up and we will fight them all.”

Mr Farage said the Prime Minister’s move towards a free trade deal with the European Union that did not include regulatory alignment was a “significant change” to the approach on Brexit.

“He said we would negotiate a super Canada-plus trade deal with no political alignment,” said the Brexit Party leader.

“That is a huge change. Ever since Mrs May’s abject speech in Florence, we have been aiming at a close and special partnership with the European Union.

“We had been aiming to stay part of many of its agencies.

“Boris last night signalled a very clear change in direction. I thought to myself overnight, ‘That sounds a bit more like the Brexit we voted for’.”

Responding to Mr Farage’s decision, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson tweeted: “The Conservative Party are the Brexit Party now.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Any form of Brexit that is acceptable to Nigel Farage will be deeply damaging for Scotland.

“Makes it all the more important to get rid of Boris Johnson’s Tories, escape Brexit and put Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands.”

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Mr Farage added: “Last night I weighed up Boris’ promises and is he going to stick to them against the threat particularly in the South and the South West that we let in a lot of Remainer Liberal Democrat MPs.”

He said the election of a majority of pro-EU MPs was likely to lead to a second referendum that would offer the country a “false choice” of the Withdrawal Agreement and Remain.

The anti-EU campaigner said the decision had “not been easy” after fighting to “be free of the EU” for 25 years but he had made the move after his attempts at building a so-called Leave Alliance had failed.