Tory MP invites Nigel Farage to join Conservatives

Sir Edward Leigh MP
Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh held on to his Gainsborough seat with a reduced majority [BBC]

A senior Tory MP has suggested Nigel Farage should join the Conservative party.

Sir Edward Leigh told BBC Look North his party had been "trashed in this election because the right wing vote is divided".

Sir Edward retained his Gainsborough seat, but with a reduced majority.

He criticised the Conservative election campaign, saying: "I think we took people for granted."

"Too many MPs were self-serving," he said.

"But our fundamental mistake was the political mistake of not taking Reform-type voters seriously and we should have delivered properly on Brexit.

"We should have stopped all this mass legal migration. Then we should have stopped the boats.

"And that was our biggest error."

BBC General Election grapphic

Speaking about Reform UK leader Nigel Farage, who was elected as an MP in the Clacton constituency, Sir Edward said: "We've got to, I think, invite Reform voters and Farage to join us.

"Because otherwise in five years' time, we are going to have a similar debacle.

"We can't have a divided right wing vote.

"I would absolutely welcome him in.

"If he wants to stand for leader, that would be a matter for our members."

Sir Edward, 73, will become the Father of the House as the longest serving MP in the Commons.

He was first elected to his Lincolnshire seat in 1983.

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