Nigel Farage has suggested he could join the Conservative Party under a different leader, hinting that he would be interested in a joint ticket with Boris Johnson.
The morning after he exited the jungle following his appearance on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, Mr Farage ruled out standing as a Conservative candidate while Rishi Sunak is leader, but did not rule out a return to politics.
Asked about his potential political future as a member of the Tory party, the former Ukip leader said: “Never say never”.
Asked on Good Morning Britain whether he would stand as a Conservative candidate at the next election, Mr Farage said: “I don’t think, under this leadership, there is very much prospect of that.
“I am looking at a Conservative government that is in total shambles, facing tomorrow effectively a confidence vote on an issue that affects every single living human being in our country, namely immigration on a level that never happened even during Tony Blair’s days.
“Rishi is a lame duck walking, and the Conservative Party are headed for total defeat.”
Over the weekend, there were further rumours that some Conservative MPs wanted to see Mr Farage form an electoral pact with Mr Johnson, the former prime minister, to take over leadership of the party.
Asked about the possibility of a “dream ticket” deal with Mr Johnson on GB News, he said: “Never say never. I can’t predict right now what will happen.”
ITV reportedly paid Mr Farage a record £1.5 million to take part in the 23 day jungle challenge. He was seen with his girlfriend for the first time as he left the I’m a Celebrity jungle on Sunday night, having finished third on the show.
The 59-year-old was pictured embracing Laure Ferrari, a French politician, on the rope bridge as his stint on the ITV reality programme came to an end.
Richard Tice, the leader of Reform UK, said Mr Farage now had “the most remarkable platform” to affect political change after his participation in the reality show, adding that he could help Reform UK plan for a possible early election.
The possibility that Mr Farage might try to stand as a Conservative candidate has been rumoured since his appearance at the party conference in Manchester in October.
Several senior Conservatives, including Mr Sunak, have said they would welcome his membership of the party, but standing in the next general election would require him to pass the Tories’ selection board and then be adopted as a candidate by a local party.
Mr Farage suggested he would not make an immediate decision about returning to politics, but told GB News: “Somehow to think that we’re going to walk out of a jungle after 23 nights and announce a relaunch in British politics, frankly, is for the birds.”
He said he had previously been on the fringe of politics and decided to take part in I’m A Celebrity to show people he is “not a monster”.
He told the channel: “Ten years ago, there wasn’t a single national newspaper, no significant business figure, trade union figure, who supported my views at all. I was the absolute fringe of the fringe. And yet what I stood for became a majority vote in the referendum.”