Arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage has kept the British Establishment guessing yet again after his ally, the Reform UK leader Richard Tice, revealed the former UK Independence Party chief and MEP is mulling a possible return to frontline politics – to help “save Britain”.
Speaking at a press conference in London on January 3, Tice said of Farage: “He is obviously giving a lot of thought as to the extent of the role that he wants to play in helping Reform UK frankly save Britain.
“And he is still assessing that and as and when we have all collectively come to a decision, obviously we look forward to letting everybody know.
“I am not a poker player but I know that a good poker player doesn’t show their hand too early,” Tice added.
“Nigel is the master of political timing.
“But I am very clear, the job at hand is so big, to save Britain, the more help that Nigel is able to give in the election campaign, frankly, the better, because the crisis facing the country … is really, really serious.”
While Tice now leads Reform UK (formerly the Brexit Party) – with Farage as the insurgent party’s honorary president – the pair were known to have disagreed over strategy in the last general election where Brexit Party candidates were stood down in certain Tory seats in a bid to not let Labour in “via the back door”.
Polling expert Sir John Curtice said: “It is pretty clear that Tice thinks Farage made a mistake in 2019 by standing candidates down, and Farage has to be committed to standing in every seat, and potentially letting Labour in by the back door.
“That is presumably what he is willing to accept. It will be Tory MPs’ worst nightmare if Farage decides to campaign effectively for Reform.”
When asked by journalists at the press conference if Reform UK planned to stand candidates in every seat at the next general election, Tice replied: “I can be absolutely categoric that we are not doing any deals with the Tories.
“We will stand everywhere in England, Scotland, Wales, absolutely.”
Tice did admit it would be hard for Reform UK to make a telling general election breakthrough.
“We are not saying it is easy. It is difficult. But one thing is clear, if you are not on the ballot paper, if you don’t try, you have got no chance,” he said.
In a reference to what the latests polls suggest is the likelihood of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer being successful, Tice said: “We are very clear…We need millions and millions of people to vote for us to help send a very clear message to help save Britain and to avoid the catastrophe of ‘Starmergeddon’.”