Farage predicts Tory wipeout will be even worse than polls suggest

Nigel Farage in front of Union Jack
Nigel Farage is standing to become the MP for Clacton - Ian West/PA

A Conservative wipeout at the general election could be even worse than a major opinion poll suggests, Nigel Farage has claimed.

The Reform UK leader said Tory fortunes were continuing to worsen after polling from Savanta for The Telegraph found the party on track to slump to just 53 seats.

Mr Farage also said he was willing to place “the biggest bet in my life” that Reform would win seats on July 4 after the constituency-level survey of 18,000 people predicted that it would be left without any MPs.

The Savanta poll predicts Rishi Sunak will become the first Prime Minister ever to lose their seat at a general election.

“On the Tory wipeout, I think it could be even bigger than Savanta suggests,” Mr Farage told The Telegraph. “I think things are getting worse and worse for them.”

The Conservative campaign has been hit by a series of gaffes, including a rain-soaked campaign launch on the steps of Downing Street and a row in which Mr Sunak was forced to apologise after leaving D-Day commemorations in Normandy early.

On Wednesday night, it emerged that a second Tory candidate is being investigated over an alleged bet on the date of the general election in a fresh blow to the party.

The Savanta poll predicted that Reform would not win a single seat despite a surge in the opinion polls. It consulted people between June 7 and June 18, meaning fieldwork started days after Mr Farage had returned to the political front line.

Under the first past the post system, it is harder for smaller parties to gain ground at general elections, as it means geographically concentrated support is needed to win constituencies.

Mr Farage said: “There is obviously some of the Farage effect in it [the poll], but it’s nowhere near as strong as it is today. We are the ones with momentum. I will have with Savanta the biggest bet in my life I have ever had that we will win seats.”

An extra element of doubt could apply to the Savanta poll because of changes in Reform’s profile since Mr Farage returned to lead the party on June 4.

He replaced Richard Tice as leader a few days before polling for the seat-by-seat survey, with an uptick in Reform’s vote being seen throughout the last fortnight. His impact on the seat of Clacton, where he is standing, is also hard to predict with nationwide polling.

Lee Anderson, the Reform candidate for Ashfield, was the party’s only MP when Mr Sunak called the general election last month. Mr Anderson, a former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, defected in March.