All marriage plans off, says Farage, in snub to Braverman’s welcome to Tories

Tuesday, Jun 11, 2024

LONDON: “All marriage plans are off” when it comes to Nigel Farage rejoining the Conservative Party, the Reform UK leader has said.

Former home secretary Suella Braverman has suggested the Conservatives should welcome Mr Farage into the party, as there was not much difference between the Tories and Reform.

But speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Farage rejected the suggestion. The Reform UK leader said: “Well, look, I mean, Suella Braverman said I should rejoin the Conservatives because our policies are very similar. “I don’t think so, I don’t think so.

“What they’ve done, allowing nearly two and a half million people to settle in the country in the last two years, is most certainly not our policy. “So I do like her, I do admire her, but I’m afraid at the moment all marriage plans are off.”

Mr Farage was a Conservative Party member between 1978 and 1992. In an interview with The Times, Ms Braverman said the Tories are a “broad church” and should not exclude anyone who wants “Conservatives to get elected”.

Ms Braverman told The Times: “We need to, in the future, to find some way to work together because there shouldn’t be big differences between us.

“I would welcome Nigel into the Conservative Party. There’s not much difference really between him and many of the policies that we stand for.

“We are a broad church, we should be a welcoming party and an inclusive party and if someone is supportive of the party, that’s a pre-condition and they want Conservatives to get elected then they should be welcomed.”

Her comments come days after a poll suggested Mr Farage is the most popular option to succeed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as leader of the Conservatives if Labour wins the General Election. A poll by Redfield and Wilton, conducted for The Independent, questioned 2,000 adults on Wednesday and Thursday, showed 19 per cent of people think Mr Farage should take over from Mr Sunak, with 22 per cent of 2019 Conservative voters questioned agreeing.

The poll offered six other names – Penny Mordaunt (15 per cent), James Cleverly (6 per cent), Kemi Badenoch (5 per cent), Suella Braverman (4 per cent), Priti Patel (2 per cent) and Robert Jenrick (1 per cent).

The largest proportion (48 per cent) of those questioned said they did not know who should replace Mr Sunak as leader of the Conservatives. To add to the worrying polls for the Tories, 37 per cent of people questioned said the Reform UK party should replace the Conservatives as the major opposition to Labour, with 30 per cent disagreeing. Conservative former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has meanwhile claimed the Tories are facing an “existential crisis” following Mr Farage’s return to frontline politics.