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Donald Trump delivers a message at Nigel Farage's birthday party

Londoner’s Diary

You might have thought he was the prime minister from the turnout and lavish spread. But Nigel Farage, despite never winning a seat in parliament after trying seven times, managed to draw former prime minister Liz Truss and a former president of the United States (by videolink) to his 60th birthday party, held last night at the Boisdale restaurant in Canary Wharf.

Former Potus Donald Trump was cheered by the 200-strong crowd of politicos, journalists, family and friends as he appeared on screen with a birthday message for the one-time Brexit Party leader.

“You’re a historic figure as a prophetic leader and I know that the people of the UK are grateful for your patriotism and service,” Trump claimed. “In fact. I’m very much looking forward to watching what your next move is gonna be, it’s gonna be an interesting one.

“You’re not done yet and hopefully the best is yet to come, so Nigel: enjoy this day. Congratulations on a truly remarkable 60 years on this Earth, your achievements have been incredible— happy birthday!”

“Wasn’t that great to get a message from Donald? He is a top guy,” said Farage. He cosied up to Trump when he first ran for president and has since enjoyed a closer relationship with him than any other British politician. Trump has called him “Mr Brexit”.

Nigel Farage at his birthday party; a melting ice sculpture of Nigel Farage at the party
Nigel Farage at his birthday party; a melting ice sculpture of Nigel Farage at the party

Farage used his birthday speech to tease a “big announcement”. There has been speculation that he could return to lead the Reform party as a Right-wing alternative to the Tories. “Do I stick with this really very comfortable life?” he asked his guests. “I have genuinely not made up my mind,” he said unconvincingly. “I will say what I’m going to do over the course of the next few weeks.”

The party, which the Londoner gatecrashed, featured an oyster and lobster buffet, free-flowing champagne and Boisdale claret, along with Farage’s own brand of red, white and blue gin. Liz Truss joined the conga and a life-size ice sculpture of Farage stood watching the party unfold, slowly melting over the course of the evening. Other guests included a clutch of Tory MPs, Reform’s Lee Anderson, Georgia Toffolo and Holly Valance with her husband, the property developer Nick Candy.

Tory troubles

Some Tories are feeling uncomfortable after The Conservative Post, a relatively new blog, posted a step-by-step guide on how to deselect sitting Tory MPs this week. The site provided a template letter of no-confidence and named 10 MPs as “liberal centrists” who “aren’t actually being Conservative” and should be replaced by Right-wingers.

What is going on? The site is part of a small but growing phenomenon in the Conservative party dubbed by some as “Torbynism”, a Tory version of tactics once used by some of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters to promote their Left-wing views and preferred candidates in the Labour party. Conversely, the so-called Torbynites are trying to push their Right-wing views and preferred candidates in the Conservative party.

The gunslinging site has interesting origins. Its founder Claire Bullivant was also co-founder, with Tory donor Lord Cruddas, of the Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO), a Boris Johnson-supporting group which has never recovered from him being deposed back in 2022.

After reading about how to purge insufficiently Right-wing MPs, visitors to the site can also browse its range of merchandise — the only product currently for sale is a trucker cap emblazoned with the words “Bring Back Boris”, available in blue or black for £29.99.