Nigel Farage hints he might still stand as MP during general election

Nigel Farage during his visit to Ashfield, stood in front of the bright blue Reform bus pointing at the camera
-Credit: (Image: Nottingham Post/Oliver Pridmore)

Nigel Farage has refused to rule out standing as an MP in the upcoming general election. During a visit to Nottinghamshire, Mr Farage said he would be an "idiot" not to consider a change of heart.

Mr Farage, the honorary president of Reform UK, issued a statement shortly after the general election was called saying that he would not stand as an MP. Instead, Mr Farage said he would be supporting Reform candidates across the country and in future, he said his focus would be on supporting a "grassroots" campaign during the US presidential election in November.

Since making that announcement, Mr Farage says he has had "deep regrets" about choosing not to stand. Yet the deadline for candidates to put themselves forward for this general election does not fall until 4pm on Friday (June 7).

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During his visit to Ashfield today (Saturday, June 1), Nottinghamshire Live asked Mr Farage if he would change his mind and end up standing. "Well, well, there we are - the Nottingham Post looking for an exclusive," Mr Farage jibed.

"I'm here today with Lee, I was in Skegness yesterday with Richard Tice. I'm going to be going around the country, supporting candidates, doing stuff, raising money at the same time. To do all of those things and fight one seat is very, very difficult."

Pushed on whether he would rule out changing his mind, Mr Farage said: "Any man that rules out anything for the future is an idiot." Mr Farage was at The Rifle Volunteer Pub in Skegby to support Lee Anderson's campaign to retain his role as Ashfield's MP.

Mr Anderson was first elected as the Conservative MP for the area in 2019 before eventually being suspended from the party earlier this year after accusing Sadiq Khan of being controlled by "Islamists". Mr Anderson then left the Conservatives to join Reform UK - a party which has grown out of the Brexit Party and which is led by Richard Tice.

The car park at The Rifle Volunteer was filled with Reform UK supporters to greet Mr Farage, who delivered a speech on the party's open-top bus. Introducing his party's president, Lee Anderson dubbed the upcoming general election on July 4 "the immigration election", saying the issue of rising legal and illegal immigration "affects everyone in this car park".

Handing over to Mr Farage, Lee Anderson said: "You've come to see the star of the jungle and he should have won by the way, it was absolutely fixed." Nigel Farage began his own remarks by complementing the ale at The Rifle Volunteer, saying: "The pint here is a lot better than what they made me drink in the jungle."

Lee Anderson and Nigel Farage with supporters outside The Rifle Volunteer pub in Skegby
Lee Anderson and Nigel Farage with supporters outside The Rifle Volunteer pub in Skegby -Credit:Nottingham Post/Oliver Pridmore

Mr Farage said that Reform were on a "six-year plan" to be the biggest UK political party by 2029.

Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live, Mr Farage said: "To be honest with you, I can't think of a county in the whole country that more typifies why Reform is here as a political party. These areas that had been Labour, most of them forever. The Labour Party left them behind.

"They gravitated in quite big numbers towards UKIP, Brexit Party, in 2019 and then the Conservatives and they have been horrendously let down. For a lot of these people to vote Conservative, it was quite difficult.

"If your family has been Labour since 1918, voting Conservative is emotionally a very difficult thing to do. They did it on the promise that the Brexit they voted for would get delivered and the biggest failure is they've been literally lied to about immigration.

"I've no doubt we will get a lot of votes in every seat in the county, but it's getting a couple of breakthroughs that really matters. There isn't much personality in politics these days, but Lee's got buckets of it, absolutely buckets of it.

"I'm actually very confident Lee will win, when you look at the bookmakers' prices, they're coming in, and my message to people in Nottinghamshire would be that the Conservative vote at this election is the wasted vote. It's only Reform that can challenge Labour in seats like this."

Below are all the candidates, presented in alphabetical order by surname, who we are aware of so far for Ashfield.

  • Reform Lee Anderson

  • Green Alexander Coates

  • Labour Rhea Keehn

  • Independent Jason Zadrozny