‘Don’t rule it out!’ Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson alliance assessed as ‘Brexit beast let loose'

Nigel Farage (left) and Boris Johnson (right)
Nigel Farage (left) and Boris Johnson (right)
Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 12/06/2023

- 20:52

Updated: 13/06/2023

- 15:49

The former Prime Minister hinted at plotting his return to the House of Commons in his explosive resignation letter released on Friday

Boris Johnson could work with Nigel Farage as the ex-Prime Minister looks to launch a Churchillian-style comeback, several allies have suggested.

Johnson announced he would resign as the Conservative MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip on Friday after catching wind of the privileges committee’s findings into whether the ex-Prime Minister misled Parliament over Partygate.

Farage responded to Johnson’s explosive resignation yesterday by telling GB News colleague Camilla Tominey that the duo could join forces to lead a new insurgent party.

The move could come as a hammer blow to Rishi Sunak who is struggling to recover Conservative support in the opinion polls.

Boris JohnsonBoris Johnson resigned as an MP with immediate effect on FridayPA

A former Number 10 adviser told GB News: “There is definitely scope for them to work together by campaigning on issues which voters fear have been wrongly and undemocratically rejected.

“Boris and Nigel have things they disagree on and they would have to meet each other in the middle but if they are prepared to do that then there is hunger for a movement for the type of politician who is real, has personality and weight, which they both have.”

Another former Johnson aide claimed: “He’s someone who usually keeps his powder dry and I think he’ll wait to see how things evolve.”

A Tory MP added: “You just can’t rule it out.”

Farage previously extended an olive branch to Johnson in the 2019 General Election when he decided to stand down more than 300 Brexit Party candidates to help ensure the Conservative Party returned a majority of MPs to the House of Commons.

The ex-UKIP leader, who presents his GB News show from Monday to Thursday at 7pm, indicated that he would be willing to join forces with Johnson to defend their shared Brexit legacy.

He said: “If he wants to defend his Brexit legacy, I want to defend my Brexit legacy too.

“Would there be a possibility of a new coming together on the centre-right? It would be Boris Johnson, there would be other MPs that would join in with this as well.”

The former Brexit Party leader, who claimed the ex-Prime Minister has no future in the Tory Party, added: “I have discussed it with people very close to him and around him.”

However, ex-Tory MEP David Campbell-Bannerman suggested Farage should throw his weight behind Johnson rather than the ex-Prime Minister joining the revamped Brexit Party.

Boris Johnson leaves his home in LondonBoris Johnson leaves his home in LondonPA

Campbell-Bannerman, who also served as deputy UKIP leader under Farage and now campaigns for the grassroots Conservative Democratic Organisation, said: “Nigel sees the reality that a great political pro-Brexit beast is on the loose but I don’t see Boris joining Reform.

“People at Reform could join a Boris-led political movement and I think Boris should work through the CDO to drive party reform and return to politics that way. He won’t be away for long.”

Despite some allies suggesting that Johnson and Farage could forge an alliance on the right, the two Eurosceptic heavyweights have gone head-to-head in several electoral bouts in recent years.

Johnson starred in the official Vote Leave campaign in 2016 but Farage missed out on the designation while rallying Brexit support with Leave.EU.

Some allies to the former Prime Minister have warned the gulf between the two is insurmountable.

Nigel FarageNigel FaragePA

An insider from the Vote Leave campaign told GB News: “There’s so many fundamental points of disagreement, including net zero and immigration.”

However, the 2016 campaign veteran also indicated that Johnson could look to take advantage of a hung Parliament if it results in voting reform.

They added: “That would be a complete seismic change for British politics and you could see several Conservative parties and possibly Boris can see that and sees his future in a very different political landscape.”

Farage addressed potentially overcoming his political differences with Johnson by arguing: “I disagree with Boris Johnson fundamentally on many of his metro, liberal views but if anybody can turn on a sixpence and say they now believe in something completely different it's Boris Johnson.”

However, a former aide to Johnson warned the current two-party system would make it unlikely for the ex-Prime Minister to join Reform.

Former Prime Minister Boris JohnsonFormer Prime Minister Boris JohnsonPA

They claimed: “If Boris wants to ever be in power again then he has to be one of the two main parties in Parliament.”

When pushed on whether Johnson has a future in the Tory Party, the ex-aide told GB News: “I think that’s closing, perhaps even closed, you don’t usually get two-shots at this but there are some exceptions.

“He will always feel that he has something to offer and perhaps he’s right. If the Tories lose the next election there will be a big debate about the future of the party and you’ll get that discussion.

“But you do get the feeling that there is a legitimate question about whether the party should move on but how long will it take for the party to emerge from his shadows?”

Johnson’s resignation announcement on Friday night came as a blow to Sunak who will now have to defend the former Prime Minister’s 7,210-vote majority in Uxbridge & South Ruislip and see off two other by-election challenges following Nadine Dorries’ departure in Mid Bedfordshire and Nigel Adams’ decision to quit as MP for Selby & Ainsty.

Rishi SunakRishi Sunak served as Boris Johnson's ChancellorPA

During his resignation letter, the former Prime Minister said he was left “bewildered and appalled” by the privileges committee’s drive to oust him from the House of Commons.

However, the 58-year-old hinted at his departure merely spelling the temporary end of his career, adding: "It is very sad to be leaving Parliament - at least for now."

A spokesperson for the committee hit back at Johnson over his statement by saying that MPs had followed proper processes and the former Prime Minister had "impugned the integrity" of the Commons with his statement.

The privileges committee will finalise its report into whether Johnson misled Parliament over Partygate today and release its findings later this week.

Reform UK did not comment when approached by GB News.

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