Nigel Farage issues ‘political revolt’ warning as he makes U-turn in MP bid

Nigel Farage said he wants to lead a “political revolt” against the Conservatives and Labour after announcing he will seek to become an MP at the General Election.

Mr Farage will contest Clacton, in Essex, after it was also announced that he will take over as leader of Reform UK from Richard Tice.

The former MEP had spent several days making clear he would not make an eighth bid to become an MP and instead would support Reform by campaigning across the country.

But Mr Farage, who has failed in his previous seven attempts to be elected to the Commons, said he had felt a “terrible sense of guilt” over the weekend and decided to make a U-turn.

Speaking at a press conference in London, Mr Farage said: “Difficult though it is, I can’t let down those millions of people, I simply can’t do it, it’d be wrong.

“So I have decided I’ve changed my mind, it’s allowed you know, it’s not always a sign of weakness, it could potentially be a sign of strength.

“So I am going to stand in this election.”

With Reform seeking to take votes away from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives, Mr Farage said he wanted to lead a “political revolt”.

He said: “Yes, a revolt. A turning of our backs on the political status quo. It doesn’t work. Nothing in this country works any more.”

Mr Farage also predicted the Tories will be in opposition after the General Election on July 4.

(PA Graphics)

He said: “They are split down the middle on policy, and frankly, right now they don’t stand for a damn thing.

“So our aim in this election is to get many, many millions of votes. And I’m talking far more votes than Ukip can got back in 2015.”

He continued: “When people start to realise in the red wall, with Reform second to Labour, when they start to realise that actually in those seats, it’s a Conservative vote that’s a vote for Labour, it’s a Conservative vote that is a wasted vote, then I think we might just surprise everybody.”

He added: “We are appealing to Conservative voters, we are appealing to Labour voters.”

But the Conservatives claimed Brexiteer Mr Farage risked helping Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

A party spokesman said: “Nigel Farage risks handing Keir Starmer a blank cheque to rejoin the EU, impose the retirement tax on pensioners and hike taxes on hardworking Brits up and down the UK.

“Farage knows that Reform won’t win any seats, but he doesn’t seem to care that a vote for Reform only helps Labour. He’s doing exactly what Keir Starmer wants him to do.”

Mr Farage, when asked whether his decision would assist Sir Keir, told reporters: “No, is the answer.”

He added Reform, in a week’s time, will “start drawing from Labour equally as much as the Conservatives”, before claiming: “The Conservative Party have lost this election without my intervention.”

On May 23, Mr Farage said he would focus on getting Donald Trump re-elected as US president rather than stand as a Reform UK candidate.

General Election campaign 2024
Holly Valance at the Reform UK press conference where it was announced Nigel Farage will become the new leader of the party (Yui Mok/PA)

Speaking on Monday, the Reform leader said of Mr Trump: “Conviction or not, I haven’t changed my mind that the world would be a safer place with Donald Trump in the White House.”

He added: “Clearly, if I’m elected the MP for Clacton and I’m there every Friday … it’ll become more difficult, but not impossible.”

On when the previous Reform candidate for Clacton found out he would be replaced, Mr Farage said: “He knew six months ago it was a possibility.”

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “The Conservative Party has already become the mirror image of Nigel Farage’s Reform.

“Rishi Sunak’s constant pandering to Reform has horrified former lifelong Conservative voters in the centre ground.

“Sunak must show some backbone and rule out Farage ever joining the Conservative Party in future, including if he gets elected to be an MP.”

General Election campaign 2024
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks to rowing club members with during a visit to the Leander Club in Henley-on-Thames (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Conservatives held Clacton in 2019 with a majority of 24,702 in an election in which the Brexit Party, led by Mr Farage, stood down candidates to help then-Tory leader Boris Johnson.

Clacton was the scene of a Ukip by-election win in 2014, triggered by Douglas Carswell’s defection from the Tories.

Mr Carswell held the seat in 2015 before the Tories regained it in 2017.

Mr Farage’s most recent attempt to become an MP took place in South Thanet in 2015. The then Ukip leader finished second behind the Tories, who secured a 2,812 majority.

Elsewhere, a new YouGov poll said Labour is on course for the biggest election victory in history, beating Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide.

The poll, using the multi-level regression and post-stratification (MRP) technique and carried out for Sky News, suggests that Sir Keir’s party is on course to win 422 seats, with the Tories down to just 140.