Sunday, November 27, 2022

Nigel Farage returns to politics as Conservatives bicker over Brexit and migrants

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The leading Brexiteer has been focusing on his media career but plans to intensify his political campaigning following recent events

Nigel Farage is preparing another political comeback to exploit Conservative disagreements over Brexit and migration, his allies believe.

The former Ukip leader has been focusing on his media career since the last general election and has not taken an active role in Reform UK, which he founded as the Brexit Party in 2019.

But as the party sees a modest rise in the polls and an apparent rise in membership, Mr Farage has become increasingly outspoken in his opposition to the Tories.

A source close to him said he plans to actively run in the upcoming by-election, although he will not be running himself.

Mr Farage’s comeback plans are motivated by growing anger on the right at the increase in both overall migration and the number of asylum seekers crossing the English Channel in small boats.

“They can’t sort out illegal migration or legal migration — that’s great,” the source said, adding, “The imposition of Sunak by a party base that explicitly voted against him sent thousands of people to us.”

The prospect of Mr Farage’s return ‘scares them… Reform doesn’t, but reform with Nigel does’.

A senior Conservative conceded Mr Farage may appeal to some of the Leave voters who were attracted to Boris Johnson in the 2019 election. They said: “A comeback by the Faragists could make a difference, if reform gets going again it could cost us a few seats.”

Another warned this week’s row over the prospect of a “Swiss-style” Brexit deal would irritate voters, saying: “We shouldn’t be talking about Brexit. People voted to go through with Brexit and the more we highlight the issues, the more they will realize we didn’t do it.”

Polls show Reform UK is now around 5 per cent, higher than the around 4 per cent average they had in the seats they fought for in 2019 and above the level they were at earlier in the year.

Mr Farage speaks to party leader Richard Tice at least every week and the two have ruled out standing aside in Conservative-held seats, as they did in the last election. He wrote in Daily Telegraph: “Whether I take a more active role in Reform UK in the future will depend on the extent of the Brexit betrayal.”

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