Boris’ election comeback: Sunak to ‘deploy Johnson in the Red Wall’ as Reform UK vow to ‘destroy’ Tories in the North

12 March 2024, 00:05

Boris Johnson will be deployed to campaign in the Red Wall
Boris Johnson will be deployed to campaign in the Red Wall. Picture: Getty/LBC
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Boris Johnson will be deployed to campaign for the Tories in the Red Wall at the next general election amid warnings the party could be 'wiped out'.

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Johnson, who was forced out of No10 by his party in 2022, is expected to be 'deployed' in marginal seats in the Red Wall in a bid to maintain some of the majority he sustained during the 2019 election.

Johnson and No10 have held 'positive discussions' about offering the former prime minister a role, The Times reports, though it does not indicate that his rift with Rishi Sunak has been settled.

It also remains "highly unlikely" that Johnson will attempt to come back as an MP at the next election after he furiously quit last year.

It comes amid warnings that the Tories could be 'wiped out' at the next election after a recent poll predicted they could be left with just 25 seats after the next election.

'We absolutely see eye to eye...and together we are going make a real difference' says Reform's Richard Tice of Lee Anderson

There is particular concern among the Conservatives that the so-called 'Red Wall' built up in the north of England could be dismantled.

Lee Anderson's decision to defect from the Tories to Reform UK to stand as an MP for the party in Ashfield was seen as a further warning sign over the Conservatives' electoral prospects in the north.

Reform UK's leader, Richard Tice, told LBC's Andrew Marr yesterday that his party will aim to "destroy" the Tories after the next election.

Caller: ‘Lee Anderson is a Midlands version of Donald Trump.’

Speaking exclusively to LBC's Andrew Marr, Mr Tice said: "Lee and I absolutely see eye-to-eye.

"He's a man of principle and integrity who feels that the two main parties have moved far away from his principles, what he stands for, and together we're going to try and make a real difference.

"He's our champion of the Red Wall and I've said very clearly today that in this coming election and the election afterwards, we are looking to replace the Tory party in the Red Wall as the main alternative to Labour."

Richard Tice with the new Reform UK MP, Lee Anderson.
Richard Tice with the new Reform UK MP, Lee Anderson. Picture: Alamy

At a Reform UK press conference earlier today, Mr Tice, leader of the Nigel Farage-founded party, announced Mr Anderson had defected to his party.

Mr Anderson said he had done "a lot of soul searching," but had come to the conclusion he must defect to Reform UK.

"I want my country back," he told the assembled reporters.

LBC Views: Lee Anderson's defection shows the deep Conservative divide as Sunak's authority crumbles, writes Daisy Cooper MP

It comes amid rumours that there are as many as nine Tory MPs that are ready to defect to Reform UK as they fear a Conservative wipeout at the next election.

But Mr Tice was keen to play down any suggestion of this, telling LBC that he would not provide a "running commentary on conversations he had had with Tory MPs".