Andrea Jenkyns should have stood for Reform, says ex-Tory MP after she put Nigel Farage on campaign leaflet

12 June 2024, 19:57

Andrea Jenkyns should have stood for Reform, Sir Charles Walker has said.
Andrea Jenkyns should have stood for Reform, Sir Charles Walker has said. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Andrea Jenkyns should have stood for Reform, ex-1922 committee chairman Sir Charles Walker has said.

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It comes after Dame Andrea put Reform leader Nigel Farage on her campaign leaflet, despite running to be the Conservative MP for Leeds South West and Morley.

Speaking on LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, Sir Charles said the move was "foolish and rude".

Dame Andrea's leaflet includes an image of her and Mr Farage at his 60th birthday party earlier this year.

"It's not acceptable to have Nigel Farage on your election leaflets," Sir Charles said.

"Mr Farage has said on many occasions - probably most recently this morning - that he wants to destroy the Conservative party.

"Not reach a compromise with the party, not recognise it is the natural party of government.

"He says he wants to destroy the Conservative party, I like Nigel Farage, I like Ed Davey, I like Keir Starmer. But this is a general election. You tend not to put your opponents on your literature. I think it is a foolish and rude thing to have done."

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He went on to say: "It was disappointing. It was rude and unhelpful. In a General Election where your backs are against the wall fighting for yourself and colleagues either side of you, it puts them in a very difficult position.

"It's not a good thing to have done."

When asked if she should not have stood, Sir Charles said: "I think if Andrea feels so disappointed in the Conservative Party which she does, she should have stood for Reform.

"Nigel Farage & Mr Tice would have welcomed her in. She has a relatively high profile.

"That would have been the best way to do this."

Dame Andrea has defended her choice, as she acknowledged there had been "lots of excitement" about it in a post on Twitter.

"All Conservatives must be prepared to come together to prevent a socialist supermajority and the end of Britain as we know it," she said.

Former education minister Dame Andrea attended Mr Farage's birthday celebration at a restaurant in Canary Wharf in April, alongside Conservative former prime minister Liz Truss and ex-Tory Lee Anderson, who defected to Reform.

Mr Farage has recently branded Reform as the "challenger for Labour" and suggested he wants the party to become the "real opposition", before launching a bid to take power in the next decade.

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