Nigel Farage says he will run to be an MP in dramatic u-turn as he becomes leader of Reform UK

Nigel Farage says he will run to be an MP in dramatic u-turn as he becomes leader of Reform UK

Nigel Farage has said he will stand to be an MP in the General Election in a dramatic u-turn.

The politician announced that he had “changed his mind” and that it “would be wrong” for him not to stand.

It will be his eighth bid to be an MP after seven previous failures.

Farage said he “began to feel a terrible sense of guilt” for not previously planning on running in the election.

He said: “I have decided I have changed my mind. It’s allowed you know. It’s not always a sign of weakness. It could potentially be a sign of strength.

“So I am going to stand in this election. I will be launching my candidacy at midday tomorrow in the Essex seaside town of Clacton.”

Nigel Farage during the press conference at The Glaziers Hall in London (PA Wire)
Nigel Farage during the press conference at The Glaziers Hall in London (PA Wire)

He will also take over as leader of the Reform UK political party with just over four weeks to go until the General Election on July 4.

On May 23, Farage said he would focus on getting Donald Trump re-elected as US president rather than stand as a Reform UK candidate.

But speaking on Monday, Farage said he would be "back for the next five years" as he sought to put pressure on the Prime Minister.

Farage had summoned reporters to south east London for an “emergency General Election announcement” earlier on Monday.Speaking at the event Richard Tice said he was quitting as the leader of Reform UK with the right-wing stalwart taking over.

Farage added: "Richard (Tice) is more than happy for me to put my head and shoulders firmly over the parapet and take the flack so I'm coming back as leader of Reform UK, but not just for this election campaign. I'm coming back for the next five years."

The former Ukip leader also told a press conference the General Election campaign needed some “gingering up”.

Shortly after taking to the podium Farage described how “thus far, it is the dullest, most boring election campaign we have ever seen in our lives”.

Nigel Farage poses for photographers in Dover (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)
Nigel Farage poses for photographers in Dover (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

He explained he wanted to lead a "political revolt" and asked voters to turn their backs on the “political status quo”.

Farage explained he had been driven to stand in the election after speaking to voters recently on Britain’s streets.

He observed: "There is a rejection of the political class going on in this country in a way that has not been seen in modern times.

"The other thing that really shook me in a way last week were the number of people coming up to me in the street saying 'Nigel, why aren't you standing?’”

He added that there had been "no attempt at seduction at all" from the Tories when asked if Reform UK had been approached about a potential electoral pact.

He also predicted the Tories will be in opposition after the General Election as he took the fight to Rishi Sunak's party.

He told the press conference: "They are split down the middle on policy, and frankly right now they don't stand for a damn thing.

"So our aim in this election is to get many, many millions of votes. And I'm talking far more votes than Ukip got back in 2015."

The Conservatives held Clacton in 2019 with a majority of 24,702 in an election in which the Brexit Party, led by Farage, stood down candidates to help then Tory leader Boris Johnson.

Clacton was the scene of a Ukip by-election win in 2014, triggered by Douglas Carswell's defection from the Tories.

Mr Carswell held the seat in 2015 before the Tories regained it in 2017.

Following Farage’s announcement the Tories said Nigel Farage is "doing exactly what Sir Keir Starmer wants him to do" by entering the General Election fray.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "Nigel Farage risks handing Keir Starmer a blank cheque to rejoin the EU, impose the retirement tax on pensioners and hike taxes on hardworking Brits up and down the UK.

"Farage knows that Reform won't win any seats, but he doesn't seem to care that a vote for Reform only helps Labour.”

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: "The Conservative Party has already become the mirror image of Nigel Farage's Reform.

"Rishi Sunak's constant pandering to Reform has horrified former lifelong Conservative voters in the centre ground.

"Sunak must show some backbone and rule out Farage ever joining the Conservative Party in future, including if he gets elected to be an MP."