Reform leader slaps down Nigel Farage: ‘We are doing no deals with the Tories’

Reform UK’s leader has slapped down Nigel Farage, the party’s honorary president, after he hinted he would consider a deal with the Conservatives if there was “something in return”.

Richard Tice, who succeeded Farage as leader of Reform in March 2021, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday morning that “the reality is” his party will not being doing any such deal. 

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Farage appeared to extend an olive branch to Rishi Sunak in an interview with The Sun’s Never Mind The Ballots programme earlier this week, telling the prime minister: “Give me something back. We might have a conversation.”

In the 2019 general election, Farage stood his Brexit Party candidates in Conservative-held seats, handing a huge boost to then-PM Boris Johnson. The Brexit Party has since rebranded as Reform. 

But speaking on Wednesday, Sunak rejected the idea of a Reform-Conservative deal, telling broadcasters: “There’s only going to be one of two people who will be prime minister: Keir Starmer or me. So the choice is a vote for anyone who isn’t Conservative is a vote for Keir Starmer in No 10.”

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Pressed on whether that meant he was ruling out a deal with Farage, the prime minister said: “Yes.”

Reform’s leader Tice has now also ruled out the prospect of the deal, telling the BBC: “The reality is we are doing no deals with the Tories. They’ve betrayed Britain, they’ve betrayed Brexit… Nigel and I we speak loads of times every day.”

Challenged on the need to “take people at their word” during an election campaign, Tice replied: “You also have to have a sense of humour within life. I’m very happy to provide the exact clarification. Of course there’s no deals, of course not, absolutely not. I’m the leader of the party and I’ve been saying that very clearly for the last few years.”

He added: “The reality is there is no deals with the Conservative Party. He’s having a bit of banter with Harry Cole of The Sun and that’s a bit of fun. But the reality is we are doing no deals with the Tories.”

Farage confirmed last week that he will not be standing as a candidate for Reform at the upcoming election, however he has since taken on a prominent campaigning role.

The former UKIP leader told a press conference earlier this week that he is “absolutely convinced” the reason Sunak called an early election was that planes would not take off for Rwanda in July. 

Asked later in the press conferences’s Q&A portion whether he wanted to destroy the Tories, he said: “They’ve destroyed themselves already, they don’t need my help. What Conservative Party? Is there a Conservative Party? I haven’t spotted it.”

Directly addressing the electorate, he continued: “Given you know Labour are going to win, why not vote for something you actually believe in?” is the UK’s leading digital-only political website. Subscribe to our daily newsletter for all the latest election news and analysis.

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