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Verhofstadt takes another wipe at Nigel Farage after dancing clip with Priti Patel


Guy Verhofstadt has taken yet another swipe at his old sparring partner, sharing footage of Nigel Farage dancing with Priti Patel at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

Former Belgian Prime Minister Mr Verhofstadt, a frequent critic of Mr Farage when the pair were members of the European Parliament, also lashed out at the Tories themselves amid speculation that the ex-Brexit Party leader was poised to become a member.

The eight-second clip, showing Mr Farage and former Home Secretary Ms Patel letting their hair down, was shared on X, formerly Twitter, by actor Nicholas Pegg, who commented: “When it comes to summing up what’s going on at the Conservative Party conference, phone footage of Priti Patel and Nigel Farage dancing and singing along to ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ could hardly be more on point.”

Sharing the film, Mr Verhofstadt said: “Is the British Conservative Party now a far-right populist party?

“From moderation & centre-right pragmatism to embracing Farage.

“Like the Republican Party in the US, what was once unthinkable is now a sad reality.”

Mr Farage, who is now a presenter on GB News, raised eyebrows with his decision to attend the conference – but has himself played down suggestions he could rejoin the party he quit in 1992.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak left the door open to a possible return after describing the Tories as a “very broad church” when asked about Mr Farage’s membership prospects.

Mr Sunak told GB News: “I welcome lots of people who want to subscribe to our ideals, to our values.”

However, former UKIP leader Mr Farage replied “no, no, no” to the suggestion while Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands also said he would not welcome it.

During his visit to Manchester, Mr Farage also attended a speech by Tory former prime minister Liz Truss.

Asked about Mr Sunak’s remarks, he said: “Would I want to join a party that’s put the tax rate up to the highest in over 70 years, that has allowed net migration to run at over half a million a year, that has not used Brexit to deregulate to help small businesses? No, no and no.”

He added: “I achieved a lot more outside of the Tory party than I ever could have done from within it.”

Tory MP Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg has described Mr Farage as a “very effective campaigner” and said he shared “most of his political views”.

Sir Jacob told BBC Politics: “I think Nigel is broadly a Tory and always has been. If he wanted to join I can’t think his membership would be refused.”

However, Mr Hands told the same programme: “I think he’s been most recently advocating voting for another political party. That is not consistent with being a member of the Conservative Party.”

Pressed if he would welcome Mr Farage into the party, Mr Hands replied: “No, I don’t think I would because I think he’s repeatedly for the last 30 years or more advocated voting for other political parties.

“I think he said he doesn’t want to see the Conservative Party succeed so I don’t think I would.”

Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson, speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester hosted by Conservative Home and UK in a Changing Europe, and asked if he agreed Mr Farage would win a Tory leadership race if allowed to stand, said: “No. I don’t.”

He said he was friends with Mr Farage and he is a “decent man” who has “done wonders for politics in this country” and does a good job scrutinising the Government, adding: “But at the end of the day Nigel has stood many, many times for Parliament and has not won.

“I think Nigel is much more effective doing what he’s doing.”

Mr Anderson added: “For me, if he joined the party I’d shake his hand and welcome him, but I don’t think he will.”

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