Skip to main content

Hello. It looks like you’re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best experience possible, please make sure any ad blockers are switched off, or add to your trusted sites, and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help you can email us.

Tory MPs taking the GB News shilling are Nigel Farage’s useful idiots

Like a Venus flytrap, he welcomes Conservatives into his sanctum and is now slowly digesting them

Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty

Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party is on the brink of an electoral wipeout. We have known that for a while, but the particular complexion of the annihilation is now becoming apparent.

It looks like Reform (technically the Reform UK Party Limited) will play a key role in the Tory demise, syphoning off a sizable chunk of Sunak’s vote.

In the two by-election results posted this morning, in Wellingborough and Kingswood, Reform won 13% and 10.4% of the vote respectively – ranking third in both races. In an MRP poll published this week from Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus, Reform is just 12% behind the Tories nationwide, with Sunak’s party expected to return fewer than 100 seats.

For all intents and purposes, Reform is the Nigel Farage party, who is its majority shareholder and honorary president. Farage may currently be freelancing on other projects, but Reform leader Richard Tice has left the door open should he ever want to return to ‘frontline’ politics (not that Tice could stop him).

But Farage is arguably seen as less of a threat – and is therefore more dangerous to the Tories – just outside the political maelstrom. Like a Venus flytrap, he has welcomed Conservative MPs into his sanctum and is now slowly digesting them. And GB News is helping to deliver the feast.

Farage recently attended the launch of the “Popular Conservatism” group fronted by Liz Truss, which roughly encompasses the GB News wing of the party. Highly salaried GB News presenters (who sideline as Tory MPs) flanked Truss at the event, including Jacob Rees-Mogg and Lee Anderson.

Some Tory MPs have said that Farage should be handed a peerage, while speculation abounds that he could be welcomed as a prospective party leader if, as seems likely, the Conservatives suffer a big loss at the next election.

Like a playground flirt, Farage hasn’t disavowed the idea of rejoining the Tories. “Who knows?” has been his vague, stock response.

Farage was a Conservative once – a member of the party for the first 28 years of his life. An Enoch Powell sympathiser in his youth, Farage was “dazzled for once into an awestruck silence” when he saw the then Tory MP during an event at Dulwich College.

Since then, however, Farage’s relationship with the Tories has been fractious. His political projects – UKIP, the Brexit Party, and now Reform – have been disparaged to varying degrees by Tory leaders. David Cameron brutally illustrated the Tory position in 2006 when he called Farage’s UKIP members “fruitcakes”, “loonies” and “closet racists”.

To Farage, the Tories are “wets” who always eventually break out into Europhilia. To the Tories, Farage is brash, crude and volatile.

However, using GB News as a cover, he has been softening up the hard-right of the Conservative Party. He’s now seen as a colleague – a potential political asset – rather than the leader of a rival reactionary movement.

This is because the Tories think they still have the upper hand. It’s assumed that GB News is the Tory TV station: a mouthpiece for the party and its acolytes. Rishi Sunak took part in a GB News town hall event on Monday, and you can barely turn on the channel without seeing a Tory MP interviewing a Tory MP about Tory politics.

But that’s not the full story.

GB News also serves as an influential mouthpiece for Reform. Its leader Tice has a show on GB News, having moved there last year from its Murdoch-owned rival TalkTV, and Reform candidates are a constant presence on its unhinged airwaves.

The Reform ranks are allowed to bask in the reflected glory of Tory royalty, and present themselves as serious political contenders. No longer shut out and disparaged, called fruitcakes and loons, Farage and his gang have been welcomed onto the main stage as equals to the Conservatives. GB News is widely expected to be the forum through which the next iteration of right-wing politics will be fought, and Reform has already booked its front-row seat.

In fact, it may end up hosting the debate. Lest we forget, GB News’s most popular show is hosted by Farage, who was a presenter on the channel long before Rees-Mogg brought his double-breasted bunkum to our TV screens. Farage is the veritable Godfather of GB News, and Tory MPs are forced to kiss the ring to share in his limelight.

By creeping around Tory events, pretending to be a journalist, Farage is seeding his latest plot. Indeed, for all his warm words towards his Tory TV colleagues, Farage’s seething resentment of the party doesn’t hide far beneath the surface.

When asked his opinion of the PopCons by LBC journalist Lewis Goodall, Farage brandished a copy of the group’s manifesto, proclaiming that it might as well be branded as a “vote Reform” leaflet.

The mask then kept slipping.

“After the election… ultimately Reform and some of the people in this room all need to be on the same side. The only question is: what will it be called?”

And then the naked truth: “I’d like to see the Conservative Party replaced [in] one of those once-in-100-year events”.

Far from contemplating joining the Tories, Farage seems to be relishing the prospect of a Tory wipeout, after which he can hoover up the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Lee Anderson to his political project (both of whom are projected to lose their seats).

As Conservative MP Sir Charles Walker told Goodall and his News Agents colleagues following the PopCon launch: “Nigel Farage has his own agenda. He’s a very skilled politician, and I suspect he’s a lot more skilled than most of the people in that room.”

Farage is once again trying to take over right-wing politics. GB News is his weapon, and a whole host of Tory MPs are playing along as useful idiots.

Hello. It looks like you’re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best experience possible, please make sure any ad blockers are switched off, or add to your trusted sites, and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help you can email us.