Nigel Farage would be the Tories’ answer to Jeremy Corbyn were he to join the party, according to Jonathan Gullis.

The party’s former deputy chairman said that while he has a positive relationship with the Reform UK leader, the party would be best served without him.


Gullis, who lost his seat last week, said on GB News that Farage would “divide” the party and the Conservatives would become “Reform-lite”.

“I’m not interested in being Reform-lite, and I’m also not interested in being Lib Dem-lite”, he said.

Nigel Farage and Jonathan Gullis

Jonathan Gullis says the Tories should not welcome Farage into the fold

PA / GB NEWS

“I’m interested in the Conservative Party being the centre-right Conservative Party that I joined back in 2008 as an 18-year-old lad.

“Being perfectly frank, if you let Nigel Farage into the Conservative Party, Nigel Farage is going to do one thing. That is seek to take it over and therefore create division.

Five Reform MPs

Nigel Farage’s party won five seats

PA

“He will be our Jeremy Corbyn, [I am] someone who is a fan of Nigel Farage, particularly with what he did over Brexit, and someone who likes him and has got a positive relationship with him.

“At one stage, before he came and frankly took 100 of my colleagues out of sats that didn’t need to lose them, I was willing for him and hoping he would join the Conservative Party on the basis that he wasn’t seeking to destroy the Conservatives, as Richard Tice was.

“But he’s made his bed, now he needs to lie in it, and the Conservatives need to draw a line in the sand.”

The Tories appear divided on the matter of the Reform leader, with Suella Braverman, who many have tipped for the party leadership, seemingly welcoming him into the party fold.

Olivia Utley, Mark Dolan and Jonathan Gullis

Jonathan Gullis spoke to Mark Dolan and Olivia Utley on GB News

GB NEWS

Asked by GB News’s Mark Dolan whether this is a smart ploy in what could end up being part of a leadership ticket, Gullis said the party must remain focused on devising a strategy for winning back votes that went to Reform without resorting to bringing Farage into the fold.

No MPs have thrown their name into the hat for the leadership as of yet since Rishi Sunak announced his intention to step down once a new head honcho is in place.

The party is locked in debate as to what its next steps should be with many calling for it to shift to the right to appeal to the 4.1m voters who backed Farage’s Reform UK.

Braverman is not the only name tipped to replace Sunak, with former ministers Kemi Badenoch, James Cleverly and Tom Tugendhat also potential hopefuls.

The pool of candidates was reduced by the chastening night last week where senior party figures like Grant Shapps and Penny Mordaunt lost their seats.

Two-time previous candidate Jeremy Hunt, who served as Sunak’s chancellor, told GB News he is not thinking of running again as “the time has passed”.