Farage says he will be ‘bloody nuisance’ as he sets out aim to take over Tories

Nigel Farage has set out his goal for Reform UK to effectively take over the Conservative Party – and potentially put him in No 10 in future.

The Reform UK leader said he would be a “bloody nuisance” in Westminster if he succeeds in becoming an MP at his eighth attempt.

Addressing hundreds of supporters at a rally in Clacton-on-Sea after announcing he would stand for election there, Mr Farage said the Tories should “pay a big price” for betraying the promises of Brexit.

The veteran Eurosceptic suggested a “chunk” of the Conservatives could join his party and compared the situation to Canadian politics, where Stephen Harper had been elected as a Reform MP but went on to head a “new Conservative” government.

Mr Farage on Monday U-turned on his previous suggestion he would not stand in this General Election, opting to fight in Clacton and being installed as Reform leader in place of Richard Tice.

Polling by YouGov suggest that 58% of Britons do not want to see Mr Farage enter Parliament, with 46% of those asked saying they did not want him as an MP “at all” and 12% choosing “not very much”.

Of the respondents who said they voted Conservative in the 2019 election, 51% want to see the Reform UK leader in the House of Commons, while 36% did not.

General Election campaign 2024
Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage surrounded by crowds as he departs the launch of his General Election campaign in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex (James Manning/PA)

Addressing a rally at Clacton Pier, Mr Farage hit out at the Tories over the handling of Brexit: “We made an offer to the British people, we could get back our independence and control of our borders.

“But what has happened? The Conservatives have betrayed that trust. They’ve opened up the borders to mass immigration like we’ve never seen before.

“And they deserve to pay a price for that, a big price for that.”

Mr Farage said the General Election was already effectively over: “That breach of trust from the Conservatives means they are finished, they are done.

“We are going to get a Labour government. Whether you like it or not, we are going to get a Labour government – the question is, who is going to be the voice of opposition?”

Mr Farage has a drink thrown over him
Mr Farage was hit with a drink as he left a pub he visited after his rally (James Manning/PA)

He urged voters to “send me to Parliament to be a bloody nuisance”.

“A Labour government won’t make any real changes at all, we need radical surgery in this country,” he said.

The Reform UK leader was hit with a drink, which appeared to be a banana milkshake, as he left a pub where he had gone following his Clacton rally.

He was seen with the drink splattered over his suit jacket as he was escorted to his campaign bus.

A 25-year-old woman from Clacton was arrested at the scene on suspicion of assault.

While police officers were responding and making this arrest, a man was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker.

Mr Farage had previously suggested he could be open to talks with the Tories, but suggested he could not work with them in their current form.

Instead, he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain his goal was to take the Conservative Party over, rather than join it.

“You can speculate as to what’ll happen in three or four years’ time, all I will tell you is if Reform succeed in the way that I think they can, then a chunk of the Conservative Party will join us – it’s the other way around,” he said.

He pointed to Canada, where “Reform did a reverse takeover of the Conservative Party, rebranded it and Stephen Harper – who was elected as a Reform MP – became the Canadian prime minister for 10 years”.

He said: “I don’t want to join the Conservative Party, I think the better thing to do would be to take it over.”

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer meets pensioners during a visit to the Bridge Cafe in Bolton
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer meets pensioners during a visit to the Bridge Cafe in Bolton (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Farage’s return to the political fray came as Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer prepared for their first televised showdown of the campaign at 9pm on ITV.

The Tories appear on course for a heavy defeat on July 4, according to projections by pollsters, with YouGov suggesting they could be reduced to just 140 seats.

Home Secretary James Cleverly told Sky News the only poll that mattered was on July 4, but added: “If you are asking: ‘Would I prefer going into the last few weeks of this election campaign with the polls in our favour?’, of course I would prefer that.”

POLITICS Election Polls
POLITICS Election Polls

He insisted people were “completely unconvinced by Labour” and Sir Keir.

“At these turbulent times, handing control of the country to a man who doesn’t even really seem to be in control of his own shadow cabinet is probably not a good idea.”

And he sought to play down the impact of Mr Farage’s decision to stand, which could further erode Conservative support.

“The last time I heard him make reference to Clacton, he was saying that he didn’t want to spend every Friday in Clacton,” Mr Cleverly told Sky News.

“Reform has always been a vehicle for Nigel Farage’s self-promotion, I think  Richard Tice is now discovering that rather painfully.”