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Gisela Stuart appeals to Nigel Farage as she warns he risks thwarting Brexit by standing against Tories

Gisela Stuart was a Labour MP for 20 years
Gisela Stuart was a Labour MP for 20 years Credit: AFP 

The former chairman of the official Leave campaign has urged Nigel Farage to support Boris Johnson's efforts to secure a majority or risk scuppering Brexit altogether.

Gisela Stuart, who was a Labour MP for 20 years, suggested that the Conservatives were most likely to deliver Brexit. Voters drawn away from the Tories to back Mr Farage's Brexit Party could end up ushering in "a hung parliament, two more referenda, and possibly us not leaving at all".

Her intervention came after Mr Farage gave Mr Johnson a two-week deadline, which expires this week, to drop his Withdrawal Agreement or face hundreds of Brexit Party candidates standing against Conservatives.

The Tories warn that Mr Farage's candidates would draw support away from would-be Conservative voters. Ministers say that if Mr Johnson fails to win a majority Jeremy Corbyn will strike a power-sharing deal with the Scottish National Party involving a commitment to second referendums on Brexit and Scottish independence.

Nigel Farage during a visit to Bolsover Boxing Club near Chesterfield in Derbyshire Credit: PA

Mr Farage has claimed that pro-Leave Labour seats offer his party "our best opportunity" in the Dec 12 poll. But a Conservative campaign source said: "The Brexit Party are taking twice as many votes away from the Conservatives as they are from Labour."

And today, Prof Sir John Curtice, the  veteran psephologist, writes in this newspaper: "There is little evidence to support the view that Mr Farage is damaging Labour more than the Conservatives – and plenty to the contrary."

Ms Stuart said: "Whilst in normal times I'm always slightly worried about arrangements between political parties, because deep inside me [I believe] the electorate ought to have their range of choices ... what is different about this is that the Brexit Party is essentially the expression of one particular issue which it wants to be achieved. This is a party which at the moment doesn't have a single MP and therefore if they really want to achieve their aim then they'll support those who are most likely to deliver that aim."

Ms Stuart added: "What [voters] will end up with, by thinking they can keep Corbyn out by voting for the Brexit Party rather than Conservatives, is a hung parliament, two more referenda and possibly us not leaving at all."

She added: "You have to make a choice, what you think this election is about for you.

"If you think this is a general election about the EU referendum and whether we leave or not then you have to be very careful about how you use your vote, because these are unusual circumstances.

"In these unusual circumstances you have to remind yourselves that if leaving the EU is the most important thing to you, it requires a government with a majority to deliver that outcome.  Another hung parliament will only repeat the last three and a half years."

Ms Stuart's remarks come after four other senior former Labour MPs called on voters to back Mr Johnson last week, saying that Mr Corbyn was unfit to be prime minister.

The Conservatives have pointed to polling showing that they would narrowly fail to win the largest vote share in constituencies such as Gedling, Notts., and Portsmouth South, having lost voters to the Brexit Party.