Deputy PM Dowden Opposes Nigel Farage’s Re-entry into the Conservative Party

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden expressed his opposition to Nigel Farage’s potential return to the Conservative Party, despite Prime Minister Sunak advocating for an “open tent” policy and former Prime Minister Liz Truss showing interest in Farage’s re-entry.

The Conservative Party faces internal discord as key members publicly debate whether Farage, who left the party in 1992 after then-Prime Minister John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty, should be readmitted.

After departing the Tories, Farage led the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and spearheaded the campaign to reverse Britain’s EU membership during the 2016 Brexit Referendum. He later challenged the Tories with his Brexit Party, which has since been rebranded as Reform UK.

Mr. Farage has dismissed the prospect of rejoining the Conservatives, criticizing their current agenda as more aligned with a social democrat party’s than a small-c conservative one. However, he has hinted at a possible return after the next general election.

Major polls suggest that Sunak’s Conservatives could face a significant electoral setback, prompting a potential shift back to the Thatcherite principles preferred by Farage. This change might occur after an anticipated defeat, leading to a reevaluation of the party’s core principles.

However, Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said: “I, like many hundreds of thousands of Conservatives up and down the country, have spent many years campaigning against parties led by Nigel Farage – so no, I don’t support Nigel Farage rejoining the Conservative Party.”

Given that Dowden hails from the globalist faction of the Tory Party and opposed Brexit during the 2016 referendum, his stance is not entirely surprising.

However, his viewpoint contradicts the stance of his superior, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who stated last year that the Conservatives are “always a broad church” and would thus entertain the notion of Farage’s return. It’s possible that Sunak’s message was primarily aimed at reconnecting with former Tory voters who defected to UKIP, a significant demographic, rather than specifically targeting Farage himself.

Last week, former Prime Minister Liz Truss expressed her eagerness to have one of the most influential political figures of his era join the party, stating, “I would like [Fargage] to become a member of the Conservative Party and help turn our country around.”

However, despite the internal discord surrounding the future of the Brexit leader, it is not guaranteed that he would rejoin the party even if offered. Mr. Farage has currently ruled out rejoining the party as long as Rishi Sunak remains the leader but has also stated that he would not “rule out” the possibility of potentially taking over the party after the election.

Currently, Farage and his political ally, Reform UK leader Richard Tice, aim to cause significant damage to the Tories, ensuring the party experiences a substantial electoral loss due to its perceived failures in conservative governance, particularly on issues such as taxation, the green agenda, and notably, mass migration.