United Kingdom Nigel Farage, Mr. Brexit, plans to return to politics with Reform UK

After having survived the dangers of the Australian jungle (he came third in 'I'm famous, get me out of here!'), Nigel Farage plans a return to the mud of British politics

United Kingdom Nigel Farage, Mr. Brexit, plans to return to politics with Reform UK

After having survived the dangers of the Australian jungle (he came third in 'I'm famous, get me out of here!'), Nigel Farage plans a return to the mud of British politics. The former Ukip leader, renamed Mr. Brexit by his friend Donald Trump, aims to campaign with Reform UK and turn the 2024 elections into a referendum on mass immigration.

Farage himself, who pocketed 1.2 million euros for his television adventure, has unleashed speculation by openly proclaiming "Never say never" in an interview on ITV in which he also foreshadowed the " total defeat" of the Conservative Party.

Reform UK president Richard Tice, who took over from his old friend in 2021 at the head of the party, has given even more arguments: "The more help Nigel can give us, the better for us." Tice acknowledged that it will be very difficult for Farage to "resist the temptation" to return to the forefront of politics, especially in light of the fiasco of Rishi Sunak's immigration policy and the record of 745,000 net immigrants in 2022.

According to sources close to the former Ukip leader, cited by The Observer, Farage would not compete directly for a seat in Westminster in 2024, given his long list of seven attempts and seven failures. His participation would be rather as a national campaign leader for the party that he helped found, on the embers of the Brexit Party, and which in some polls reaches 9%.

37% of Conservative Party voters admit that they would have a "more favorable" view of Reform UK with Farage on board, and that is something that especially worries Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has prematurely taken up the stake with a turn to the right tough, dueting with Georgia Meloni and warning from Rome that mass immigration "will overwhelm our countries and destroy our democracies."

Farage's goal will be precisely to put immigration back in the spotlight, as he did during the Brexit referendum with his controversial "breaking point" poster, in the midst of a wave of refugees from the Syrian war.

"Whether the big parties like it or not, we are going to make these elections about immigration, in the same way that the 2019 elections were about Brexit," the same sources revealed to The Observer. "We are going to question not only illegal immigration, but also 'legal' immigration. Who voted for this mass immigration?"

Farage is expected to join the electoral bandwagon in January, in an event with which Reform UK aims to set the tone for the general elections, initially scheduled for autumn 2024, although they could be brought forward to May. Immigration is currently the third priority of the British (behind public health and the cost of living), but 63% think that the numbers are "too high."

As if preparing thoroughly for the competition lurking on the right flank, Rishi Sunak has put his efforts into making mass immigration (and not just boats crossing the English Channel) his workhorse for the election campaign. . The prime minister has emerged apparently strengthened from his fight with the hardline Tories over the Rwanda Law to deport immigrants pending the right to asylum.

According to the latest Opinium poll for The Observer, Sunak has managed to reduce the distance that separates the Conservative Party from Keir Starmer's Labor Party to 13 points (27% to 40%), which has seen its comfortable 20-point advantage maintained for 20 years deflate. much of the year.

Other polls, such as YouGov (22% to 44%) or Ipsos (24% to 41%) still give a wide lead to the Labor Party, but the tendency is to narrow it. Sunak has emerged visibly strengthened by his reaction to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, while Starmer has been questioned by a majority of his militants for not daring to demand a "ceasefire", something that David Cameron himself is now asking for as secretary. of Foreign Affairs.

In a personal head-to-head, Starmer leads Sunak by six points when faced with the inevitable question of who would be the best prime minister. The Labor leader plans to make the defense of the National Health Service (NHS) his banner in the face of the long decade of austerity that has caused the decline of public services and the stagnation of the economy in the midst of the cost of living crisis.

Starmer has anticipated the cancellation of the 'Rwanda plan' if he becomes prime minister, considering it "impracticable", and is in favor of reaching agreements with the EU for the return of migrants awaiting asylum who arrive on British shores in exchange. Although he has promised to be "twice as tough against criminal gangs to secure our borders", his challenge will be to campaign against the populist rhetoric that he and Sunak have begun to use at the hard-right conclave in Rome.

"Our enemies will see that we are incapable of tackling this problem and will increasingly use immigration as a weapon: deliberately sending people to our shores to try to destabilize our societies."