Nigel Farage hints at return to Tory party if Boris Johnson reaches out to him

Nigel Farage has suggested he would have a conversation about a possible return to the Tory party if Boris Johnson contacted him.

The former Ukip leader, 59, said there was “not a cat’s chance in hell” of joining the Conservative Party under Rishi Sunak.

But he admitted he would “have a chat” if Mr Johnson called him.

Mr Farage, who came third on the ITV reality show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! said the Conservatives were “headed for electoral catastrophe” and “haven’t got a clue what is about to befall them”.

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Speaking from Australia after leaving the jungle, he said: “Would I stand for the Conservative Party at the next election? Under this leadership, not a cat’s chance in hell.

“Would I stand for a party that’s put the tax burden up to the highest level since 1951, whose new legal net migration figures stand at 745,000, which never believed in Brexit but used it purely opportunely to win an election, that locked us down for a third lockdown completely unnecessarily and caused calamitous harm to the mental health of our young, the physical health of our old, and damaged the NHS?”

He did not say under whose leadership he might be prepared to rejoin the Tories, but added: “I’ve got 6,000 messages. If there is one from Boris I’ll find it in a minute and I might give him a ring.

“I don’t know whether Boris has reached out. If Boris has reached out and we really believed that the role of government was to get out of the way and let men and women set up their businesses and create wealth and do well, then I’ll have a chat with him.”

“I think the whole axis of government has moved towards state controls… but when it comes to politics, never say never.

“I’ve never, ever wanted in politics to have a job for a title or a rank or a position. I only joined politics all those years ago to make change. Brexit was a fundamental constitutional change – if I’m going to do it again I would have to believe that I could be the instigator of real change in a country that I think is in some ways almost becoming sclerotic.

“And I don’t see at the minute how I would do that between now and the next general election.”

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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, something that is far from guaranteed.

Mr Farage also branded Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda bill “an absolute cop out” and a “total joke” as he urged Tory MPs to vote it down tomorrow.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps claimed Mr Farage’s Reform UK did not pose a threat to the Conservatives’ chances of winning the next election.

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