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Who’s afraid of big, bad Farage? Not the Tories, surely?

Some of Rishi Sunak’s supporters are worried about what will happen when the honorary president of Reform UK emerges from the ‘I’m a Celebrity’ jungle this weekend. John Rentoul wonders why

Friday 08 December 2023 17:00 GMT
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<p>Wild card: Nigel Farage in the I’m a Celebrity jungle </p>

Wild card: Nigel Farage in the I’m a Celebrity jungle

The Conservative Party is under assault from three directions, I wrote last weekend: from Labour everywhere, from the Liberal Democrats in graduate-heavy seats around London, and from Reform UK taking away some of its core vote.

The Reform revival has been greatly preoccupying some Tory MPs in the past two months. Its average support in opinion polls has risen from 6 per cent to 9 per cent, at a time when immigration is in the headlines. These are overwhelmingly voters who would, if they had to choose between Labour and Conservative, vote Tory. Every extra vote for Reform, therefore, tends to suppress the Tory vote and to make it easier for Labour and the Lib Dems to win Tory seats.

Some Tories are worried that, when Nigel Farage emerges from the media purdah of I’m a Celebrity this weekend, he will take up more of a lead role in the immigration debate, as honorary president and proprietor of Reform.

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