Londoners are showing their admiration for Nigel instead.
The Tory supporters did not exactly sing that, but they enthusiastically performed Robbie Williams’ “Angels” in front of Britain’s leading advocate for Brexit, Nigel Farage, at the Conservative party’s convention this week. They were close to it.
Farage, who left the Tories in the ’90s to lead Britain’s Euroskeptic diehards from various splinter parties including UKIP, was a prominent fixture at the Conservatives’ conference in Manchester this week where he gained entrance as an anchor for GB News.
Activists enthusiastically welcomed and surrounded Farage, hailing him as the mastermind behind Brexit. This sparked speculation about his potential to lead these activists as their leader in the future.
It is improbable, but not entirely impossible. Here is a breakdown of the steps involved in that procedure.
“Join the Tory party as a member.”
Attendees at the conference are seriously considering the possibility of Farage rejoining the Tory party.
A confidential source, identified as a diplomat in Manchester, revealed to POLITICO that they would be reporting back to their base that Farage received a warm reception. This statement apparently reflects the direction of the Conservative party more accurately than any of their stated policies.
Some members of the Conservative Party also seem content with this possibility.
“The Conservative Party is an inclusive group. I am open to individuals who share our principles and beliefs,” stated Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in an interview with a colleague of Nigel Farage at GB News, when questioned about a potential comeback – without completely shutting down the possibility.
Minister of Security Tom Tugendhat, who is not typically considered a conservative hardliner, also refrained from dismissing the notion of a return. Meanwhile, Conservative Member of Parliament Jacob Rees-Mogg expressed enthusiasm for the idea.
Some people are not in agreement, though. The Chairman of the Conservative Party, Greg Hands, stated that he would not be pleased to have someone who has consistently supported other political parties.
2. Be selected as a potential candidate.
If he were to successfully rejoin the party, Hands’ position as chairman of CCHQ (Conservative Central Office) could potentially complicate things for Farage.
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The ex-leader of UKIP would be required to undergo the party’s internal process for screening candidates, involving thorough background checks and evidence of strong political beliefs and ethical standards. At this point, party leaders may choose to disqualify the candidate.
If he is accepted as a Conservative Party candidate, his support among certain members may enable him to persuade local members to choose him as their representative.
Farage twice contested the South Thanet constituency while leading UKIP and could fancy another pop at the new East Thanet constituency formed in its place. Either way, he would be likely to seek a seat somewhere in Britain’s south east. And the Conservatives are reportedly struggling to find new candidates, which might make things easier.
3. Actually get elected
The conference-going Tory activists who mobbed Farage are, of course, not particularly representative of the wider British public.
Unfortunately, Farage is not well-liked among the British population in general. Additionally, his unsuccessful bids for election as an MP seven times in the past do not bode well.
His polarizing and flamboyant manner, along with involvement with individuals who promote conspiracy theories, have contributed to his rise as a prominent political figure in Britain. However, this has not yet translated into success in being elected to the House of Commons.
If Rishi Sunak does not win the election, he should consider entering the competition.
Certain steps may be simpler compared to others.
According to POLITICO’s poll of polls aggregator, Sunak is currently behind Keir Starmer’s opposition Labour Party by an average of 16 points.
If he is unable to reverse this situation and ends up losing and stepping down as prime minister, Farage – who, let us not forget, is currently an elected Conservative MP – would have many supporters urging him to run in the subsequent leadership election.
Was he able to withstand that pressure?
Attract the support of Conservative Members of Parliament.
The Conservative Party, under the leadership of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has a considerable number of staunch supporters of Brexit who align with the far-right in politics, such as Farage.
The upcoming election could greatly reduce their numbers, but there are already numerous Conservative MPs vying for the opportunity to become leader if Sunak steps down. This would leave a large group of candidates in a potential leadership race following the election.
The potential contenders for the support of conservative Members of Parliament on the right wing, in a potential competition with Farage, include Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch.
According to the rules set by the Tory party, only the top two candidates from the MPs’ ballot are allowed to participate in the party’s vote. Therefore, if Farage is truly determined, his first priority would be to gain the support of his Tory colleagues whom he has been criticizing for years.
Reword: Secure the support of the members.
If Farage were to successfully make it onto the membership ballot, he may start to genuinely believe.
The right-leaning candidates have a history of winning in Tory leadership elections when members are given the opportunity to vote. Some notable instances include Iain Duncan Smith defeating long-time Cabinet member Ken Clarke, Boris Johnson defeating the more moderate Jeremy Hunt, and Liz Truss overwhelming Sunak before her administration collapsed.
Although there is limited data on the opinions of Conservative members, the available information indicates a strong support for Farage among the party’s 170,000 grassroots members. According to a 2019 YouGov poll, 46 percent of members would prefer him to emerge victorious in any competition, even when he was leading the opposing right-wing Brexit Party.
If Farage is successful in reaching this point and winning a membership vote, he would become the leader of the Conservative party. The only person standing in his way of becoming the prime minister would be Labour’s Keir Starmer.
However, there is one issue… does he actually desire to?
“Farage expressed his disinterest in joining a party that has increased tax rates to the highest level in 70 years, allowed net migration of over 500,000 a year, and failed to use Brexit as an opportunity for deregulation to support small businesses. He shared this sentiment on GB News.”
But speaking to the BBC this week, he didn’t rule out taking a punt after the next election. “Never say never,” Farage said when asked about rejoining the Tories.
Gawain Towler, a previous assistant who remains loyal to Farage, stated that his former employer is relishing the attention, but has no intention of joining a party in the hopes of transforming it into a true conservative party. He also mentioned that while the Tory members have a strong fondness for Farage, the party’s establishment will always harbor animosity towards him and try to exert control over him.
Towler stated that the situation is unlikely to occur and he is aware of this. He simply enjoys provoking them.
“He arrives and the Conservatives begin to panic,” he stated. “[Farage] simply needs to release gas in a room and they become irrational.”
Reporting for this article was provided by Emilio Casalicchio.