A 'unilateral pact' announced today by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage to aid Boris Johnson's Conservatives means the party will not contest Shipley, Pudsey or Skipton & Ripon at next month's General Election.

Speaking to supporters in Hartlepool he said the party would not stand in the 317 seats won by the Conservatives in the last election in 2017.

That includes Shipley, held by Philip Davies; Pudsey, held by Stuart Andrew; and Skipton & Ripon, held by Julian Smith.

The party has already announced candidates for some Labour-held seats in West Yorkshire, including Kulvinder Singh Manik in Bradford South, Clive Minihan in Batley & Spen and Graeme Webber in Leeds North West. 

Mr Farage said he had changed the party's strategy because he feared that the Brexit Party running against the Conservatives would have led to a hung Parliament with significant gains for the Liberal Democrats.

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

But the news has been greeted with dismay by some prospective Brexit Party candidates who have now been ordered to stand aside, with Wayne Bayley, who had been due to stand in Crawley, tweeting: "F**k your election strategy and F**k Boris".

The Brexit Party leaders had previously warned the Tories that it would stand in 600 constituencies unless Boris Johnson abandoned his Brexit deal with Brussels.

However, his offer of a “Leave alliance” electoral pact with the Conservatives was rejected by the Tories.

Mr Farage said he still believed the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with Brussels would not deliver “the Brext we voted for” in the 2016 referendum.

However, he said he had been encouraged by statements by Mr Johnson at the weekend saying he would not extend the planned transition period beyond the end of 2020 and that he would seek a “super Canada plus” style free trade agreement with the EU.

Mr Farage said: “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?

“I think our action, this announcement today, prevents a second referendum from happening.

“And that to me, I think right now, is the single most important thing in our country.

“So in a sense we now have a Leave alliance, it’s just that we’ve done it unilaterally.”