Farage ‘will not rejoin Tories while Sunak is PM’

Nigel Farage arrives at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester in October
Rishi Sunak has suggested that Nigel Farage would be welcomed back to the Tories if he sought to join - JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP

The leader of Reform has insisted Nigel Farage will not join the Tories while Rishi Sunak is in charge.

Richard Tice told Bloomberg he believed Mr Farage would stay with Reform, which grew out of the Brexit Party.

He also claimed there was no chance that his party would stand aside in Conservative seats like Mr Farage’s Brexit Party did in 2019.

There has been speculation about Mr Farage’s political future since he turned up at the Tory conference in October.

But Mr Tice was adamant that he would not join the Conservatives and that Reform would not sign a 2019-style deal.

“If someone consistently promises to supply a service to you and fails to deliver, you fire that supplier,” he said.

He added that the Tories “need to be punished very severely in my view. They have broken Britain”.

Richard Tice delivers a speech in central London
Richard Tice said the Tories 'need to be punished very severely' at the next election - JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP

Mr Farage is currently in the Australian jungle, taking part in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here reality show. He left the Conservatives in 1992, becoming a founder member of Ukip in 1993.

Earlier this month, Mr Sunak suggested he would be welcomed back to the Tories if he sought to join.

Asked about a plea from Stanley Johnson, the father of former prime minister Boris Johnson, for the Conservatives to “open their arms” to Mr Farage, Mr Sunak replied: “Our party has always been a broad church.”

Stanley Johnson had argued that Mr Farage could help the Conservatives retain the Red Wall seats they won for the first time in the 2019 election.

“The Conservatives have to open their arms to Nigel”, he told GB News. “I think we cannot afford to have a man of that talent not in our camp at the next election.”

However, a number of centrist Conservative MPs, including Tobias Ellwood, a former minister, have said they would be likely to quit if Mr Farage were to lead the Tories in the future.

Asked on GB News if he would remain in a party led by Mr Farage, he said: “No. Probably the answer to that is no.

“I’ve said this numerous times: when we aim for the centre ground – the centre-Right ground – of British politics, we win elections.”

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 1 month, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US-exclusive offer.