Suella Braverman says Conservatives should 'welcome' Nigel Farage to 'unite the right'

10 June 2024, 06:07 | Updated: 10 June 2024, 07:27

Suella Braverman says the Conservatives should welcome Nigel Farage
Suella Braverman says the Conservatives should welcome Nigel Farage. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Suella Braverman has called on the Conservatives to "welcome" Nigel Farage into the party in order to "unite the right".

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The former Home Secretary said there was "not much difference" between Mr Farage's Reform UK party and the Conservatives in terms of policy.

Mr Farage has been sharply critical of the Conservatives since taking over the leadership of his party and announcing he was standing in the General Election.

He said on Sunday that Rishi Sunak was "utterly disconnected by class, by privilege, from how the ordinary folk in this country feel".

On Friday, he also suggested the Prime Minister was unpatriotic for skipping some of the D-Day ceremonies.

Read more: Sunak pledges 8,000 new neighbourhood police officers as party aims to bring back 'bobbies on beat'

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Suella Braverman
Suella Braverman. Picture: Alamy

Polls suggest Reform UK are not far behind the Conservatives, who have repeatedly promised lower immigration but have instead presided over net inflows reaching record highs.

Mr Farage has claimed that Labour "have won already" and said his party should form the opposition. The Conservatives have said in response that a vote for Reform is a vote for Labour.

Ms Braverman, a hard liner on immigration, was fired by Mr Sunak in November over a row about policing of pro-Palestinian protests in London.

Speaking to the Times, she said that it was a "real shame" that the right-wing vote was split between her party and Reform.

Nigel Farage - Leader of Reform UK
Nigel Farage - Leader of Reform UK. Picture: Alamy

“We need to, in the future, to find some way to work together because there shouldn’t be big differences between us,” she said.

"I would welcome Nigel into the Conservative party. There’s not much difference really between him and many of the policies that we stand for.

"We are a broad church, we should be a welcoming party and an inclusive party and if someone is supportive of the party, that’s a precondition and they want Conservatives to get elected then they should be welcomed."

Ms Braverman is widely expected to stand for leadership of the Conservatives if they lose power in the election on July 4.

‘One or other of the two main parties could make a complete hash’ of their manifestos

Priti Patel, another former Home Secretary, is also likely to stand and is seen as likely to invite Mr Farage into the Conservative Party if she won.

Kemi Badenoch and James Cleverly, expected also to contend, would be unlikely to follow suit.

A poll by Redfield and Wilton, conducted for The Independent, surveyed 2,000 adults on Wednesday and Thursday and showed 19% of people think Mr Farage should take over from Mr Sunak, with 22% of 2019 Conservative voters surveyed agreeing.

The poll offered six other names - Penny Mordaunt (15%), James Cleverly (6%), Kemi Badenoch (5%), Suella Braverman (4%), Priti Patel (2%) and Robert Jenrick (1%).

The largest proportion (48%) of those surveyed said they did not know who should replace Mr Sunak as leader of the Conservatives.

To add to the worrying polls for the Tories, 37% of people surveyed said the Reform UK party should replace the Conservatives as the major opposition to Labour, with 30% disagreeing.

Lewis Goodall grills Mel Stride over Rishi Sunak's D-Day ceremony conduct

It comes as election campaigning continues, with Mr Sunak announcing on Sunday night that the Conservatives would hire an extra 8,000 neighbourhood police officers.

The Prime Minister said "more bobbies on the beat" with greater powers would help drive down crime.

The Tories said the plan would be funded in part by increasing visa fees by 25% and making overseas students pay a higher level of immigration health surcharge.

Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper dismissed the plan as "another empty promise from a desperate Tory party".

The Conservatives are set to launch their manifesto on Tuesday, with another 2p cut in National Insurance expected.

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