UK

Right will unite, Farage predicts, after Starmer says Tories dancing to his tune

The Labour leader had suggested at PMQs that the Conservatives were following Nigel Farage’s playbook.

Nigel Farage has hit back at Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer
Nigel Farage Nigel Farage has hit back at Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The Conservative right wing and the Reform party will come together “under the same roof” in the future, Nigel Farage has said.

The former Ukip and Reform Party leader made the claim after Sir Keir Starmer used Prime Minister’s Questions to suggest Rishi Sunak’s Government was dancing to a tune Mr Farage had set.

Politician-turned-broadcaster Mr Farage also dismissed the Labour leader’s suggestions he had “bemoaned the influence of the ‘Jewish lobby’”.

Speaking to the PA news agency following the Commons clash between the two party leaders, Mr Farage said it “was a very strange choice” for Sir Keir to draw him into PMQs.

“I think this is much more about the Labour vote, and I wonder whether tomorrow’s by-election might in some way have something to do with it,” he added, referring to Thursday’s poll in Rochdale.

In the Commons, Sir Keir had sought to portray the governing party as “no longer the Tories your parents voted for”, suggesting they had veered rightward.

Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs (Maria Unger/AP)
Prime Minister’s Questions Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs (Maria Unger/AP) (Maria Unger/PA)

The Labour leader claimed Tory former prime minister Liz Truss “remained silent as Tommy Robinson, that right-wing thug, was described as a hero” while appearing at a political conference in the US.

He also suggested Mr Farage would be welcomed into the Conservative Party, adding: “This is the same Nigel Farage who said he agreed with the basic premise of Enoch Powell’s ‘rivers of blood’ speech, and bemoaned the influence of the ‘Jewish lobby’.”

Amid media reports that Labour is war-gaming the possibility of Mr Farage becoming Tory leader in the future, the former MEP said the Opposition were “worried about me returning to politics, because they think that vote in the Red Wall that is going back to them could be a real problem for them”.

He added: “But I have no intention of joining the Conservative Party under Rishi Sunak, no, and at the moment I am enjoying life as a broadcaster.

“I am not actively involved in politics at all.”

Mr Farage also told PA: “As for the future, do you know, when there was a pact in 2019, the right of British politics achieved an 80-seat majority.

“Those voters feel enormously let down by this Conservative Party and at some point there will be a coming together of people that are now making up Reform who are on, it depends what pollster you look at, but rising in the polls.

“There is a wing of the Conservative Party and Reform who at some point in the future, between this election and the next one, will be together under the same roof.

“What it is going to be called – whether it is the Conservative Party itself – what it is going to be called, I don’t know, but logic says that to me.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the Commons chamber
Prime Minister’s Questions Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the Commons chamber (Maria Unger/PA)

In a 2017 LBC show, Mr Farage made reference to the “Jewish lobby” when speaking to a caller, garnering criticism from campaigners against antisemitism at the time for his use of the phrase.

Responding to Sir Keir’s apparent reference to the incident, Mr Farage described the call as “quite unpleasant”, adding: “I said, hang on a sec, the Jewish community in New York and the east coast and elsewhere is enormously successful in what they do, in law, in business.

“And yes they have a lobby and a strong voice, but they are not running America.

“But apparently if you use the word lobby, that apparently is an antisemitic trope.

“I mean, I didn’t know that at the time.

“I was saying they are very effective, but that they are not running the whole show.

“There isn’t some great big conspiracy.”

He claimed it was a “bit rich” for Sir Keir to make the accusation, following investigations into antisemitism within Labour.