Europe Markets

Sterling boosted as Nigel Farage reportedly reduces his Brexit Party challenge in UK election

Key Points
  • Reports suggest the Brexit Party will stand down a further 43 candidates in the upcoming election.
  • Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage had already removed any opposition to the U.K. Conservative Party in the parliamentary seats it is defending.
Leader of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage, speaks at the launch of the Brexit Party general election campaign at The Emmanuel Centre on November 1, 2019 in London, England.
Chris J Ratcliffe | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Sterling hit a 10-day high against the dollar on Friday afternoon after reports that Nigel Farage's Brexit Party will now not contest an additional 43 seats in next month's U.K. general election.

On Monday, Farage had said his party wouldn't contest any of the 317 seats won by the ruling Conservative Party at the last election. At that point, the Brexit Party leader said his candidates would fight all the other seats held by the main-opposition Labour party and other pro-Remain parties.

However, according to a journalist at the U.K.'s Telegraph newspaper, the Brexit Party will now stand down in 43 seats currently held by other parties.

A majority of the additional seats listed are reportedly in Scotland where the Scottish National Party is expected to do well. The move is seen as offering a chance for the Conservative Party to mop up votes from people who support Brexit.

The British pound jumped above $1.29 on the news, rising 0.25% to reach $1.2910 by 2:30 p.m. London time.

Farage U-turn

The Brexit Party leader had previously threatened to contest almost all the U.K.'s parliamentary seats in a move that could have split the "pro-leave" Brexit vote in the election on December 12 — seen by some as a de-facto vote on the country's withdrawal from the EU.

Farage had previously offered to enter into a "leave alliance" with the Conservatives in which certain seats were contested but Downing Street refused to entertain such an offer.

Farage attributed his decision to give the Conservatives a "free run" in certain seats to comments made by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday night, where he claimed that there would be no extension of the Brexit transition period which ends in December 2020.

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