Tories branded ‘desperate’ as party chairman hints Nigel Farage would be welcome to join | Politics | News

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Tories branded ‘desperate’ as party chairman hints Nigel Farage would be welcome to join | Politics | News

The Conservatives were being described as « increasingly desperate » tonight after party chairman Richard Holden admitted that if Nigel Farage asked to join he would be considered. Speaking on GB News, Mr Holden was pressed by Mr Farage’s Reform UK party closing the gap with the Tories in the polls with suggestions that they could have as much as 13 percent in support.

And his comments came after former cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke, who this week called for Rishi Sunak to quit, insisted that the former UKIP and Brexit Party leader should be welcomed by the Tories.

Last week Express.co.uk revealed how Conservative strategists are already considering how to minimise Mr Farage’s effect in the general election by hoping that he will be in the USA helping Donald Trump win the presidency during the period for an autumn poll in the UK.

Clacton Tory MP Giles Watling is said to be « extremely nervous » by friends that Mr Farage will stand in his constituency where UKIP won before and he would be favourite to win.

Asked if he would Farage to join the party, in light of the polling, Holden told GB News: « Polls bounce around. Obviously you know, any application will be considered on its merits. »

GB News political editor Christopher Hope responded: « That would be a no then! »

But Mr Holden quickly disagreed: « Definitely not! »

The exchange came in a week where Mr Sunak lost a key adviser from his Downing Street team.

Will Dry, Sunak’s pollster, quit saying that the Tories are heading for a decade out of power and a « catastrophic defeat ».

A flirtation between the Tories and Mr Farage began last October when he attended his first Conservative conference in decades as a GB News presenter.

As a young activist Mr Farage was a member of the Tories before leaving to join UKIP while he was a city trader.

At the conference he was pictured dancing with Priti Patel who also used a major speech to thank him for standing down Brexit Party candidates in 2019.

Mr Sunak has also not ruled out Mr Farage joining the Tories again but the former UKIP leader himself told a Reform rally he was not going become a Conservative.

Instead, Reform leader Richard Tice has, with Mr Farage’s blessing, vowed to run a candidate in every seat and « destroy » the Conservatives.

The first major test for the party could be the Wellingborough by-election on February 15 where former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib is running for Reform. Habib has told Express.co.uk that the by-election will be « a referendum on Sunak’s government. »

He added that the attempts by the Tories to woo Mr Farage are « a sign that they are increasingly desperate. »

Cet article est apparu en premier sur https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1860278/tories-nigel-farage-party-membership


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