Exclusive: Labour Is 'War Gaming' The Possibility Of Nigel Farage Becoming Tory Leader

A "special ops unit" has been set up by the party to prepare for the downfall of Rishi Sunak.
Anadolu via Getty Images

Labour officials are “war gaming” the possibility of Nigel Farage becoming Tory Party leader in a right-wing coup, HuffPost UK can reveal.

A special unit under the leadership of shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth meets twice a week to prepare for the possibility of Rishi Sunak being ousted by his internal opponents.

It is made up of a handful of Labour aides and takes advice from left-of-centre political parties abroad who have battled populist parties in their own countries.

Its work has been “turbo-charged” following the launch of the Popular Conservative group involving Liz Truss, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Lee Anderson, the former Tory deputy chair suspended from the party over Islamophobia allegations.

A Labour source said: “It’s the worst kept secret in Westminster that the PopCons are organising a hostile takeover of the Tory Party.

“But increasingly Sunak finds himself caught in their pincer movement. His weakness is shocking. It means he could be toppled any moment. We have to be ready for that.”

Former prime minister Truss last week told the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington that she would welcome Farage joining the Tories.

She said: “I will work with whoever it takes to make our country successful, I will work with whoever.

“And Nigel ... I would like him to become a member of the Conservative Party and help turn our country around.”

Speaking last year after finishing third on I’m A Celebrity, Farage hinted that he could stand for the Conservatives at the general election.

He said: “If we had a leader that believed the size of the state should be smaller, taxes should be lower, we should stop sending 50% to university and teach young people trades and skills, that border controls should be based on skills and based on people can benefit the country, a leadership with the guts to stop young men crossing the English Channel in boats.

“If some of those things happened, do you know what, I might have a think about it.”

The former Ukip leader has also previously said he would be “very surprised” if he is not Tory leader by 2026.

Labour sources say the top-secret unit is looking at what impact Farage could have on British politics if he achieved his goal.

In particular, they want to highlight his previous praise for Vladimir Putin, his friendship with Donald Trump and his climate change scepticism.

A source said: “With Farage you have to be prepared for anything.”

“Tory voters at the next election need to know what they are voting for: win, lose or draw they will ditch Sunak and lurch to the right. A vote for them is a vote for carrying on the chaos and division for another five years.”


What's Hot