Farage: Nodded during extracts of Rivers of Blood speech

Nigel Farage willing to lead ‘merged’ Reform-Conservative party after election

Nigel Farage has said he would be willing to lead a merged Reform-Conservative Party after the general election.

The Reform leader restated his position that he could not lead the Conservative Party as it “currently is”, but went on to predict that a new party could emerge after the election.

Farage told LBC: “I think something new is going to emerge on the centre-right. I don’t know what it is called.

“But do I think I am capable of leading a national opposition to a Labour Party with a big majority, where I can stand up and hold them to account? Yes.”

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Pushed on whether he would be happy to lead a merged party, he replied: “Yes.”

He added: “[Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives] may well be dead. This may well be the end of their journey. I would be prepared to lead the centre-right in this country.”

The comments come after a YouGov survey, published on Tuesday, placed the Conservative Party just one point ahead of Nigel Farage’s Reform. 

The poll put Labour on 38 per cent, the Conservatives on 18, Reform on 17, the Liberal Democrats on 15 and the Greens on 8.

YouGov’s survey was swiftly followed by a Redfield and Wilton poll which asked who would be the better leader of the opposition to a Labour government. 

Respondents backed Nigel Farage as top with 28 per cent slightly ahead of Rishi Sunak on 27 per cent.

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former cabinet minister, has suggested similarly in recent days that the Conservatives need to form a “coalition” with Reform UK to avoid splitting the right-wing vote. 

Reflecting on the rise of Reform UK, Rees-Mogg called on his fellow Conservatives to reunite the “Tory party family.”

The former business secretary told GB News: “If the Conservatives and Reform are very close, what does that tell you about dividing the Tory family?

“If you divide the Tory family you make it worse for both parts, the in-laws and the outlaws, so to speak, and that what we need is a coalition, a coalescence, of the various parts of the Tory party family.”

It is not the first time the former cabinet minister has called for the Conservatives and Reform to come together politically. 

Last month, before the prime minister called an election, Rees-Mogg urged Rishi Sunak to make a “big, open and comprehensive offer to those in Reform”, including a government post to Farage and candidate selection for Richard Tice and Ben Habib, Reform’s leader and deputy leader respectively. 

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

Explaining his bid to become an MP in the constituency of Clacton, 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 last week, 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.”

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