Farage sets out plan for ‘reverse takeover’ of Tory Party

Nigel Farage has ruled out doing a deal with the Conservatives after announcing he is standing to become an MP – as he set out his goal for Reform UK to effectively take over the Tory Party.

After taking over as leader of Reform UK on Monday, Mr Farage accused the Tories of betraying his party.

The former head of UKIP had ruled himself out of standing in this general election but made a U-turn after saying he had a “terrible sense of guilt” for not putting himself forward to be a candidate.

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Mr Farage will be standing as the Reform UK candidate in Clacton, Essex – the eighth time he has tried to be an MP, having never previously succeeded.

A YouGov poll for Sky News, published on Monday, has the Conservatives likely to win Clacton but that was before Mr Farage announced he was standing.

Asked if he would do a deal with the Conservative Party, Mr Farage told the BBC’s Today programme: “There are no circumstances whatsoever.

“We have been betrayed by a Conservative Party I have given considerable help to.”

In the 2019 election, the Brexit Party – Reform’s former name – did a deal with the Conservatives where they did not field any candidates against the Tories in the 317 seats they had won at the previous general election, in an attempt to ensure Labour or the Lib Dems did not take those seats.

He agreed the deal after Boris Johnson committed to leaving the EU by 2020 and pursuing a Canada-style trade deal.

Reform UK is set to increase its share of the vote compared with the last election but it is still only predicted to take 10.1%, according to the latest YouGov poll for Sky News.

Mr Farage said he intended to win “millions” more votes than UKIP had as he tries to make Reform the official opposition.

Reform may not win more than a few seats but they could contribute to the Conservatives losing even more seats to Labour.

Read more:
All you need to know about Nigel Farage
The 12 big Tory names at risk of losing their seats

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Mr Farage – who has taken over from Richard Tice as Reform UK leader – said he did not want to join the Conservative Party but told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I think the better thing to do would be to take it over.”

He said: “You can speculate as to what’ll happen in three or four years’ time, all I will tell you is if Reform succeed in the way that I think they can, then a chunk of the Conservative Party will join us – it’s the other way around.”

Mr Farage pointed to Canada, where “Reform did a reverse takeover of the Conservative Party, rebranded it and Stephen Harper – who was elected as a Reform MP – became the Canadian prime minister for 10 years”.

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The newest YouGov poll shows Labour on course to win a historic landslide, with an expected 194-seat majority on 5 July.

It would be the highest number of seats of any party at any election since Stanley Baldwin won a Conservative majority of 208 in 1924.

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