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Sunak swerves questions on Farage joining Tories as Starmer says PM has ‘lost control’ of his party

Rishi Sunak has refused to reveal whether he would allow Nigel Farage to join his party after Sir Keir Starmer accused the Conservatives of “dancing to the tune” set by the former UKIP leader.

Sir Keir Starmer challenged the prime minister on whether Mr Farage had a place in the Conservative Party after his predecessor, Liz Truss, suggested she would be willing to work with him to “turn our country around”.

During Prime Minister’s Questions the Labour leader said Mr Sunak’s party was “no longer the Tories your parents voted for” and had become the “political wing of The Flat Earth Society” as he referenced recent comments made by Ms Truss on a controversial trip to the US.

Mr Sunak hit back – saying his opposite number was just “sniping from the sidelines” as he drew attention to Labour’s recent trouble in the Rochdale by-election, where it was forced to abandon support for its candidate after it emerged he made antisemitic remarks.

“We expel antisemites, he makes them Labour candidates,” he said.

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Image: The Conservatives are dancing to a tune set by Nigel Farage, Sir Keir Starmer suggested. Pic: Reuters

The Labour leader also questioned why Mr Sunak was allowing former prime minister Ms Truss to remain a Conservative MP and stand in the next election, telling the Commons: “They made her prime minister, now they can’t bear talking about her. In search of fame and wealth, she’s taken to slagging off Britain at every opportunity.

“She claimed that as prime minister she was sabotaged by the deep state. She also remained silent as Tommy Robinson, that right-wing thug, was described as a hero. Why is he allowing her to stand as a Tory MP at the next election?”

Mr Sunak said “I don’t believe a single member of this House supports Tommy Robinson”.

“But if he wants to talk about former leaders and predecessors, the whole country knows his record because he sat there while antisemitism ran rife in his party and not once but twice backed a man who called Hamas friends.”

In an interview with Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former strategist during the the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in the US last week, Ms Truss was asked whether she would work with Mr Farage – now an honorary president at the Reform party – to “restructure” the Conservative Party.

“I would like him to become a member of the Conservative Party and help turn our country around,” she replied.

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Tories ‘facing possible extinction’

Sir Keir pressed Mr Sunak to reveal whether Mr Farage would be joining the Conservative party, after Ms Truss described him as the “man to restore the Tory party”.

The Labour leader continued his attack on the prime minister by arguing he had “lost control of his party to the hordes of malcontents”.

“When will he ever stand up to them, and end the pathetic spectacle of a Tory party that used to try and beat Nigel Farage now giving up and dancing to his tune instead?”

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Mr Sunak replied: “In our party we have a proud tradition of diversity and accepting everyone from every background, it is a proud record that puts Labour to shame.

“This is the party that delivered the first Jewish prime minister, the first female prime minister, the first black chancellor, the first Muslim home secretary and is now led by the first British-Asian prime minister.

“While it seems he can only champion men from north London, it’s the Conservatives who represent modern Britain.”

Sky News Source