The Conservative party will be “destroyed” at the next election if it pursues a so-called Swiss-style Brexit, Nigel Farage has said.
The former Ukip and Brexit party leader said “remainers” were back in control of the Conservative party and that “Brexit has been betrayed already to a certain extent”.
Mr Farage was responding to reports over the weekend that some in government want to bring the UK closer into the EU’s orbit and build a relationship resembling the one Switzerland enjoys.
Asked about the story on right-wing news channel GB News Mr Farage said: “We’re replaying what happened in 2019. We’re going through the same process again, because that’s what Mrs May’s Chequers deal was all about. It was Brino, it was Brexit in Name Only.
“If you haven’t got the courage to free things up and look to a bigger world, deregulate, and you might just as well stay with the club.
“The problem with the Conservative Party is this: whilst I get the logic of that argument, there are still huge numbers of people who voted for something, the free open democracy and want to see it delivered.
“And I remind you that in 2019, we did not leave the European Union on 29 March as promised, the Brexit Party came back and smashed the Conservative Party into their worst national election result in 200 years.
“What I’m saying is if they want to go through that level of betrayal again, they will be destroyed at the next general election in a way that they cannot begin to contemplate.”
Mr Farage is president of the Reform UK party, the renamed successor to his Brexit Party outfit which won the 2019 European Parliament elections.
But the party has enjoyed little success in the polls or at elections, with just a handful of local councillors in its ranks and zero representation at other levels of government.
The party regularly polls under 5 per cent of the vote and does not seem to have significantly benefited from the collapse in support for the Conservatives.
New polls also suggest support for Brexit is fading fast as the UK’s economic condition deteriorates, with a rejoin campaign now likely to win a theoretical referendum and a significant majority saying leaving was a mistake.
Speaking in the same interview Mr Farage claimed that “the free marketeers, the Brexiteers have been routed in their own party”, and said there had been “little deregulation or help for our industries, our businesses, precious little done for our fishermen”.
“Brexit is disappointing because of what the Tories have delivered,” he said.
“And frankly, if we’re going to head down a route of closer regulatory alignment, it wouldn’t surprise me but it would be the final act of betrayal.”