A plot being launched by Tory Party insiders could see Boris Johnson return to the forefront of British politics – with Nigel Farage by his side.
According to reports in the Daily Mail, the pair are considered the “dream ticket” to revive the party’s fortunes as polling numbers continue to dwindle.
Rishi Sunak is facing arguably the toughest week of his premiership as his plan to revive Rwanda deportations faces a vote in the House of Commons.
The European Research Group of hardline Brexiteers is set to hold a summit on Monday with the party bitterly divided, while the more moderate wing of One Nation Conservatives will hold a separate evening meeting in Parliament before releasing a statement on their judgment.
Reform UK threat
Many Tory MPs are said to be fearful of the impact Reform UK could have in splitting the vote at an election, with rebel MPs saying bringing back Johnson could be the only way for them to fight against the challenge from the right in the next general election.
A pact with Reform UK founder Farage – who could be made kingmaker as part of the controversial moves – could see figures such as Suella Braverman and Priti Patel given more prominent roles.
Johnson quit as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip after he was forced to resign as PM.
However, his supporters wonder if an MP could resign a safe seat, while Farage and even Richard Tice, Reform’s leader, then offered peerages or ministerial roles to see off their party’s threat.
Johnson’s spokesman denied there were any plans to team up with Farage.
“Boris Johnson is currently writing a book and is supporting the Government,” he told the Mail on Sunday.
“Start dominating the agenda”
A Reform official said Farage will “start dominating the agenda” after his stint in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here.
“Within about six to eight weeks we’ll be polling in the high teens, and the Tories will start to slip below 20 per cent,” they said.
“At that point between five and ten MPs will realise the game’s up, and defect to us. Then it’s game over.
“We’re looking at the last majority Tory administration of our lifetime. We’re going to destroy them.”
One Tory MP told the Mail: “Reform are going to kill us, so we have to buy Farage off. The plan is we get him into the Lords, give him some brief like we did with Cameron – maybe even Home Secretary – then go to the country with the dream team.
“It may not be enough to win, but it would definitely re-energise our base, shake up the debate and give Starmer something to think about.”
A Red Wall MP who said they were among the first to call for Mr Johnson to quit said they accepted the need to “think outside the box” and “no one can question… his effectiveness as a campaigner”.