Nigel Farage focuses on Donald Trump instead of standing in General Election

Nigel Farage has said he will focus on getting Donald Trump re-elected rather than stand as a Reform UK candidate in the July 4 General Election.

The arch Brexiteer said he will “do my bit to help” the party in the UK campaign but that it is not the right time “to go any further than that”.

There had been speculation that Reform UK’s honorary president could return to frontline politics for the national vote for which Rishi Sunak on Wednesday set the summer date.

Ahead of the launch of Reform UK’s campaign on Thursday, Mr Farage said in a statement posted on X: “I have thought long and hard as to whether I should stand in the upcoming general election.

“As honorary president of Reform UK, I am fully supportive of Richard Tice’s leadership and urge voters to put their trust in him and Lee Anderson.

“I will do my bit to help in the campaign, but it is not the right time for me to go any further than that.

“Important though the general election is, the contest in the United States of America on November 5 has huge global significance. A strong America as a close ally is vital for our peace and security. I intend to help with the grassroots campaign in the USA in any way that I can.

“The choice between Labour and the Conservatives is uninspiring, and only Reform have the radical agenda that is needed to end decline in this country.”

Mr Farage has a longstanding relationship with the former US president, having been the first UK politician to meet Mr Trump after his 2016 White House election victory.

Mr Farage, who is also a presenter on GB News, is cancelling his show on the channel to free up time for campaigning.

Reform UK leader Mr Tice, a multimillionaire former Tory donor, said on X: “Delighted to have Nigel’s help during the election campaign.

“If you want change, you must vote for @reformparty_uk on July 4th.”

Reform UK
Reform UK is led by former Tory donor Richard Tice (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Tice inherited the leadership of Reform UK, originally called the Brexit Party, from Mr Farage when he decided to step back from frontline politics in 2021 in the aftermath of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

The party is seeking to attract disillusioned Conservative voters, mainly over the issues of immigration and net zero.

Many Tories fear it could put a real dent in Mr Sunak’s hopes of a return to Downing Street come polling day.

They are likely to be relieved ex-Ukip leader Mr Farage has decided against taking on a more prominent role, as this could have massively boosted Reform’s prospects.

Tory former Cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “The fact that he’s not a candidate for an opposition party is inevitably helpful for the Conservatives.”

However, Mr Farage’s decision to quit his GB News programme – which he confirmed by retweeting a journalist’s post reporting the development – to spend more time campaigning suggests he will still cause a headache for Mr Sunak’s party.

Mr Farage has unsuccessfully stood for Parliament several times, most recently in 2015.

In the 2019 election, he withdrew Brexit Party candidates in Conservative-held seats, a move that is thought to have contributed to Boris Johnson’s victory.

Mr Anderson, the former Tory deputy chairman, is the only current Reform UK MP following his defection from the Conservatives.

At Reform’s election launch event, former MEP Ben Habib appeared to have a coded dig at Mr Farage’s decision not to stand.

Mr Habib, who is standing in Wellingborough, said: “For any political movement to succeed, it needs a leader who is prepared to absolutely stay the distance and make the fight.”

He said Mr Tice “has the moral courage not to vacate either when the going gets tough, or when it might suit him”.

Asked if he was referencing Mr Farage, Mr Habib said: “You interpret (my comment) as you see fit. In any walk of life, you have to stay the distance.”