03 October 2023

Nigel Farage rejects suggestions he could make Tory party return

03 October 2023

Nigel Farage has rejected suggestions he could rejoin the Conservative Party.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak left the door open to a possible return after describing the Tories as a “very broad church” when asked about Mr Farage’s membership prospects.

Mr Sunak added to GB News: “I welcome lots of people who want to subscribe to our ideals, to our values.”

But former Ukip leader Mr Farage replied “no, no, no” to the suggestion while Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands also said he would not welcome it.

Mr Farage is in Manchester for the Conservative Party conference and attended a speech on the conference fringes by Tory former prime minister Liz Truss.

The prominent Brexiteer was also videoed dancing with Conservative former home secretary Priti Patel to Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.

Mr Farage, asked about Mr Sunak’s remarks, told GB News: “Would I want to join a party that’s put the tax rate up to the highest in over 70 years, that has allowed net migration to run at over half a million a year, that has not used Brexit to deregulate to help small businesses?

“No, no and no.”

He added: “I achieved a lot more outside of the Tory party than I ever could have done from within it.”

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg described Mr Farage as a “very effective campaigner” and said he shared “most of his political views”.

The Tory former cabinet minister told BBC Politics: “I think Nigel is broadly a Tory and always has been. If he wanted to join I can’t think his membership would be refused.”

We're always delighted if people cross the floor

But Mr Hands told the same programme: “I think he’s been most recently advocating voting for another political party. That is not consistent with being a member of the Conservative Party.”

Pressed if he would welcome Mr Farage into the party, Mr Hands replied: “No, I don’t think I would because I think he’s repeatedly for the last 30 years or more advocated voting for other political parties.

“I think he said he doesn’t want to see the Conservative Party succeed so I don’t think I would.”

Sir Jacob countered: “We’re always delighted if people cross the floor.”

Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson, speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester hosted by Conservative Home and UK in a Changing Europe, and asked if he agreed Mr Farage would win a Tory leadership race if allowed to stand, said: “No. I don’t.”

He said he was friends with Mr Farage and he is a “decent man” who has “done wonders for politics in this country” and does a good job scrutinising the Government, adding: “But at the end of the day Nigel has stood many, many times for Parliament and has not won.”

“I think Nigel is much more effective doing what he’s doing,” Mr Anderson said, adding: “For me, if he joined the party I’d shake his hand and welcome him, but I don’t think he will.”

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