Nigel Farage plots ‘reverse take over’ of the Conservative Party, citing Canadian example

Nigel Farage has suggested his long-term aim is for Reform to “reverse take over” the Conservative Party.

The new leader of Reform told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme that he could not stand for, or seek to lead the Conservatives, “as they currently are”.

Farage announced at an “emergency press conference” on Monday yet another bid to become an MP and his plan to run in the Conservative-held seat of Clacton in Essex.

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The decision is a major blow to Rishi Sunak, after the former UKIP leader — who has previously stood for election to the House of Commons seven times — confirmed he had changed his mind about standing.

The ultimate U-turn: why Nigel Farage changed his mind about standing as an MP

Explaining his bid to become an MP, Farage said he could not let down “millions of people” who had supported his past political projects.

He added: “Something is happening out there. There is a rejection of the political class going on in this country in a way that has not been seen in modern times.”

Speaking to ITV on Tuesday morning, Farage laid out his long-term plans: “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.”

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”.

He said: “I don’t want to join the Conservative Party, I think the better thing to do would be to take it over.”

On Monday, Farage confirmed he was taking over from previous Reform leader, Richard Tice, for a period of five years. 

He claimed he had a “terrible sense of guilt” for not putting himself forward when the election was called, saying he felt he was “letting [his supporters] down”.

He then described how he had a “normal day” on Sunday to “reflect” on his decision, where he “walked the dog, did some fishing, popped in the pub”, and then made his choice.

“I’ve changed my mind”, Farage said, adding: “It’s allowed you know, it’s not always a sign of weakness. It could potentially be a sign of strength. So I am going to stand in this election. I’ll be launching my candidacy at midday [on Tuesday] in the Essex seaside town of Clacton.”

“I can’t turn my back on the people’s army. I can’t turn my back on those millions of people who followed me, believed in me despite the horrendous things that were being said about me.” is the UK’s leading digital-only political website. Subscribe to our daily newsletter for all the latest election news and analysis.