David Cameron says Nigel Farage is trying to destroy the Conservative Party through Reform UK

15 June 2024, 10:55

David Cameron and Nigel Farage
David Cameron and Nigel Farage. Picture: Getty

By Charlie Duffield

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed his disdain at the return of Nigel Farage in the run-up to the general election on July 4.

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But despite the challenges the party has experienced, he says he still has faith in the Conservative Party.

According to one pol, Nigel Farage's Reform party has overtaken the Conservatives for the first time, with Reform sitting at 19 per cent, ahead of the Conservatives at 18 per cent.

The Telegraph reported that senior Conservative Party figures have warned that Labour could win a huge majority if Reform is to take votes away from the Tories and split the right-wing vote.

Speaking to The Times, David Cameron said Nigel Farage is "currently trying to destroy the Conservative Party by standing for Reform."

Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage. Picture: Alamy

He went on to say: “I want to be as sure as we can that we get no Reform members of parliament and the Conservative Party can move forward.”

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Previously, Farage was instrumental in the campaign to leave the European Union, and contributed to Cameron's downfall as prime minister.

Cameron is particularly critical of Farage's "inflammatory" rhetoric on migration.

He said: “I think there’s room [in the Conservative Party] for people who care about immigration. I think there’s room for people who want to stand up for strong defence. But the other baggage you get, which can be incredibly divisive, we don’t want that.

“Don’t forget Enoch Powell stopped Britain talking about immigration for 20 to 30 years. As leader of the opposition I was the first person to make a really big speech on immigration in 2006. I know it’s too important an issue to leave on the side.”

David Cameron
David Cameron. Picture: Alamy

"What I want is robust policy and measured language. I think with these populists what you get is inflammatory language and hopeless policy.”

Referencing the Conservative's election campaign so far, he said: "It’s never easy campaigning when you’ve been in power for 14 years. But the thing I focus on is that sometimes at the end of 14 years parties can be sort of a bit short of energy and ideas.”

So far the Conservatives' manifesto pledges including reducing national insurance, reducing income tax for pensioners and compulsory national service.

Cameron told The Times: “I think what’s remarkable when I stand back and look at the campaign, never mind the kind of short-term ups and downs and all the rest of it — you’ve got a very energetic prime minister with a very strong top team — I would say that wouldn’t I — and a really fizzing manifesto with ideas.”

Contrarily, he thinks Sir Keir Starmer lacks a plan.

“When I look at Starmer I think he’s sitting there with his fingers crossed to please, please, please let them pass judgment on Lettucegate, three prime ministers and all the rest of it,” Cameron said.

“You’re meant to win elections on the basis of having a compelling and exciting programme. And he’s like, I haven’t got a programme, it’s not exciting. There’s nothing here apart from a bunch of spending plans that would mean higher taxes.”

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But Labour's poll lead remains - and if the Conservatives were to win, it would mean the biggest comeback in modern political history.

“I think we can win this election,” Cameron said. “Even when I was ahead in the polls in 2010, or somewhere behind in the polls in 2015, I used to say ‘can win’ rather than ‘will’ because it’s up to the public, it’s up to the country.”

The Conservative Party is attempting to warn voters not to give Labour a "super-majority' as a landslide victory could lead to a decade of Starmer in power.

But Cameron remains unconvinced. He said: “I don’t even understand what a super-majority is. There’s no such thing. There’s a winning post of 325 seats and that’s it.”

He added: "I’m a committed Conservative. I care deeply about my party, I care deeply about my country. I took proper time out after 2016 because following the referendum, I thought it was quite important not to be a commentator on what was happening.

“I am focused 100 per cent on getting a Conservative government on July 4. Time spent on asking questions about either opinion polls or election outcomes is time not spent talking about what Tony Benn [the former Labour minister] called the ishoos.”

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