Suella Braverman urges Tories to welcome Farage as Reform aren’t that totally different

Suella Braverman has said Nigel Farage “should be welcomed” by the Conservative Party – and admitted that Reform UK and the Tories aren’t that different.

The Tory former Home Secretary made the intervention after a disastrous few days for the party following Rishi Sunak’s decision to abandon veterans and world leaders on D-Day to record a TV interview. Cabinet Minister Mel Stride was forced to declare yesterday that Mr Sunak would still be leader on election day as the scandal continued to swirl.

Ms Braverman, a Sunak critic who is seen as a possible leadership contender, waded into the row in an interview with the Times, where she said the Tories are a “broad church”, and should not exclude anyone who wants “Conservatives to get elected”. It comes after a shock poll suggested the Reform UK was the most popular option to succeed Mr Sunak as Tory leader if Labour wins the General Election.

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she'd welcome Nigel Farage into Tory ranks

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she’d welcome Nigel Farage into Tory ranks
Tom Nicholson/REX/Shutterstock)

Ms Braverman told The Times: “We need to, in the future, to find some way to work together because there shouldn’t be big differences between us. I would welcome Nigel into the Conservative Party. There’s not much difference really between him and many of the policies that we stand for.

“We are a broad church, we should be a welcoming party and an inclusive party and if someone is supportive of the party, that’s a pre-condition and they want Conservatives to get elected then they should be welcomed.”

Mr Farage has electrified the General Election campaign with his shock decision to return to political frontline by taking over as Reform UK leader and running to be an MP in Clacton, Essex. The former Ukip leader has been taunting the Tories by saying he could lead a “reverse takeover” of the party – and has previously claimed he could lead the party.

Ms Braverman’s attitude toward Mr Farage is not shared by all her colleagues. Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch, another potential leadership contender, has reportedly told allies should would not welcome the Reform UK leader into Tory ranks.

The poll by Redfield and Wilton, conducted for The Independent, showed 19% of people think Mr Farage should take over from Mr Sunak, with 22% of 2019 Conservative voters surveyed agreeing.

The poll of 2,000 adults on Wednesday and Thursday offered six other names – Penny Mordaunt (15%), James Cleverly (6%), Kemi Badenoch (5%), Suella Braverman (4%), Priti Patel (2%) and Robert Jenrick (1%). The largest proportion (48%) said they did not know who should replace Mr Sunak

It comes as a separate poll for the Mirror found the Tories are ahead of Reform UK by just two points – as Labour storms ahead by 23 points. The bombshell poll, from Redfield & Wilton, found 42% of people are set to vote for Labour in the election, while 19% plan to vote Tory and 17% Reform UK. The Lib Dems are polling at 12%, while the Greens are on 6% and the SNP on 3%.