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Desperate Tories urge unity with Farage

FEUDING Tories fought furiously over the party’s future today as former ministers urged a reconciliation with Reform UK.

Panicked by the surge in the polls for Nigel Farage’s hard-right formation, some are pushing for a last-ditch pre-election agreement.

While an agreement is not likely to happen, those with an eye on a right-wing post-election realignment were trailing their coat at Mr Farage today.

Suella Braverman, who summoned fascist demonstrators to London to confront peace marchers while home secretary, said: “We need to find some way to work together. 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.”

Aristocrat MP Jacob Rees-Mogg also backed a rapprochement with Reform at the weekend.

“Nigel Farage should come into the Tory Party. Conservatives and Reform agree on the vast bulk of policy, and we want to achieve the same things,” he said.

Mr Rees-Mogg added that he would encourage Mr Farage and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to come to a pre-election understanding.

“Nigel is a very big political figure who represents a swathe of public opinion,” he added.

Mr Farage has ruled out a pact and instead urged Ms Braverman and other Tory rightists to join Reform, while the Prime Minister was also not playing ball. 

“I‘m not really interested in Reform,” he said today.

And former justice secretary Robert Buckland was dismissive, saying: “Nigel Farage wants to see the destruction of the Conservative Party. He’s not a Conservative.”

In a stinging addition, Mr Buckland dubbed one of the architects of Brexit “a very European-style of politician.”

“He’s not a very British politician at all,” he said.

Invoking a French far-right movement of the 1950s, he called Mr Farage “much more of a Poujadist than a Conservative” while the Tories were “a broad church, but not an Amazon warehouse.”

And in a sign of desperation, stop-Farage Tories were believed to be canvassing for the return of disgraced ex-premier Boris Johnson as an alternative.

The feud between Mr Sunak and Mr Farage turned personal after the Reform leader said that the Premier’s much-criticised early departure from D-Day commemorations showed he had “no sense of our history, or feeling genuinely for the culture that is out there among ordinary people.”

This was widely understood as a dog-whistle attack on Mr Sunak’s ethnicity, although the dog-whistler himself denied it and claimed to have been referring to the Prime Minister’s wealth and class only.

Mr Farage’s attempt to capitalise on the PM’s D-Day blunder was undermined by the revelation that the Reform candidate in Bexhill had said Britain should have remained neutral in the war against Hitler.

Ian Gribbin said in 2022 that only “weird notions of international morality” had involved Britain in the fight against fascism and slammed “the cult of Churchill” who was “abysmal.”

Compounding the problem, a Reform spokesman said that the remarks were “probably true.”

In a further sign of reconciliation with the far right, Leeds Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns backed the main demands of the rival Reclaim Party, headed by B-list actor and car-crash politician Laurence Fox.

Ms Jenkyns said she preferred Mr Fox’s approach to Mr Farage’s, saying that “while Reform has a scorched-earth policy and wants to obliterate Conservatives, Reclaim are instead taking a grown-up approach and realise that we should instead take the fight to the socialists.”

She and three other Tory MPs have defied party bosses and accepted £5,000 each from a Reclaim-controlled fund in return for supporting its four key culture war obsessions, including repealing equality and human rights legislation.

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