Tory MPs terrified Farage could try to make a comeback in February by-election

Nigel Farage quizzed over his future plans

Conservative MPs have privately raised fears that Reform UK and Nigel Farage could have been handed a major opportunity to make a political breakthrough in the New Year.

The Wellingborough by-election called after a successful recall petition against sitting former Tory MP Peter Bone, who was suspended over bullying allegations, has left the door open for a major push by the former Brexit Party. Reform UK leader Richard Tice has confirmed that his party will be selecting a candidate to fight the seat but said he believes that they stand a chance of victory.

He said: “Labour cannot win it there and Bone may stand as independent. It’s a strong Brexit seat; so we will be giving it good strong push.”

Bone, a leading Brexiteer, narrowly won the seat for the Tories in 2005 but turned it into a safe seat with a majority of 18,540 in 2019.

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READ MORE: Rishi Sunak faces fresh by-election nightmare after Peter Bone ousted as MP

While Labour came a distant second in 2019, it has been pointed out by Conservative MPs that in 2015, UKIP came second in the seat. One former minister told “If Nigel Farage is looking at making a political comeback this would be the perfect opportunity for him.

“That 2015 result for UKIP shows that Reform UK could pick up a lot of support there and if Nigel Farage were the candidate he would stand a very good chance after I’m a Celebrity.”

Another Tory MP added: “If Farage comes back in any form we really are screwed but we deserve it I’m afraid.”

It is highly unlikely Farage will be the candidate but sources have suggested that there could be an announcement on his future in early January.

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Mr Farage, who is now the star presenter on GB News, told the channel on Sunday that he has not decided on his future yet. But after coming third in ITV’s I’m a Celebrity in the Australian jungle his popularity has hit new heights.

Currently Reform UK is polling between 8 and 12 percent in different surveys but it is believed that if Mr Farage were to step back into the fray then they would be in the mid-teens just a few points behind the Tories.

The speculation comes as Conservative MPs on the right spend the Christmas break deciding whether to make a push to replace Rishi Sunak as leader amid tensions over his Rwanda Bill to allow deportation flights to the East African country of illegal migrants.

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