Nigel Farage could make a return to frontline politics in a more prominent role for Reform UK at the next general election, the party’s leader has said.
Richard Tice told The Telegraph that Mr Farage would “find it very hard to resist” playing a bigger part in taking on the Conservatives.
Mr Farage is due to return to the UK next week after appearing on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, which takes place in the Australian jungle.
The former Ukip and Brexit Party leader is currently the honorary president of Reform, a political party to the Right of the Conservatives.
The party has picked up support in recent weeks with the Tories publicly split over migration, and a string of recent polls have shown that one in 10 voters backs them.
New analysis from More in Common, a pollster, shows the growth in support for Reform is set to cost the Tories up to 35 seats and hand Labour a Commons majority at the next election.
Mr Tice expects to talk to Mr Farage about taking on a more prominent role in Reform, perhaps as chairman, when he returns to Britain. He told The Telegraph: “This will be an immigration election, whether the main parties like it or not. It is a great opportunity for Reform.
“Nigel is very well trusted [on migration]. He needs to make the judgment – does he want to come back full-time into politics?
“The more help, as far as I’m concerned, the better. I think he will find it very hard to resist. The opportunity once and for all to punish the Tories will be unbelievably tempting to him.”
At points since stepping back as the Brexit Party leader, Mr Farage has hinted at a return to front line politics, but there are reasons he may choose not to do so.
He hosts a GB News show, the continuation of which could be complicated if he formally took on a more central role with Reform, and is also expected to spend a considerable amount of time in America next year ahead of the November 2024 presidential election.
He campaigned for Donald Trump, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, during the 2020 election.
Notably, Mr Farage has also not ruled out trying to join the Conservative Party and become its leader in the coming years, something that could become harder if he openly campaigned against the Tories at the next election.
Any temptation to return to frontline politics could also be complicated by whether Mr Tice is willing to give up the Reform leadership. Mr Tice is understood to have told others he is not fussed about titles and is more focused on what is best for the party.
In the latest episode of I’m a Celebrity, Mr Farage boasted about his political appeal when an MEP, saying: “Do you know what? I’m the biggest name the European Parliament’s ever had, in terms of international news that I made. I put them on the map globally. I said to them one Christmas: ‘You should all be grateful to me, I’ve made you all famous.’”
He also told campmates about the benefits of being an MEP, saying: “For the MEPs, it’s an amazing lifestyle. You get to the airport, there’s a chauffeur-driven Mercedes waiting for you. You want to go out for dinner, the chauffeur takes you.
“You get 300 euros a day spending money, cash. The members’ dining room, wonderful crab and lobster buffets… yeah! Every day! The Ukip table was often the noisiest in there because we drank and had a laugh. People looking at us in horror.
“And if you’re an MEP, the power that you have is incredible. You are treated like the elite. Women throwing themselves at you.”