Farage has ‘no interest’ in Tory pact as Reform floats employer immigration tax

Farage Has ‘No Interest’ In Tory Pact As Reform Floats Employer Immigration Tax
Nigel Farage had suggested “we might have a conversation” about what the Conservatives could offer Reform.
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By Richard Wheeler, PA Political Staff

Nigel Farage has “absolutely no interest” in striking an election deal with the Tories, as Reform UK proposed a multi-billion pound tax on businesses for employing overseas workers.

Mr Farage had suggested “we might have a conversation” about what the Conservatives could offer Reform, remarks later dismissed as “banter” by party leader Richard Tice.


Challenged further on Thursday about his comments, Mr Farage said he had given a “deeply sarcastic answer” to The Sun’s Never Mind The Ballots show and he felt “betrayed” by the Conservatives since helping them at the 2019 general election.

General Election campaign 2024
Leader of Reform UK Richard Tice and Nigel Farage during a press conference to announce their party’s legal immigration policy at The Glaziers Hall in London. Photo: James Manning/PA.

His response came as Reform outlined its desire for an “employer immigration tax” on companies that choose to employ overseas workers instead of British citizens.


Reform said businesses should be required to pay a national insurance “premium” of 20 per cent of an employee’s salary, as opposed to 13.8 per cent, if the worker is from overseas.

Exemptions would exist for businesses employing five people or fewer and for healthcare and social care, the party said.

Mr Farage had to downplay suggestions that such a move, predicted by the party to potentially raise more than £20 billion over a five-year period, could be viewed as a “curry tax” given it could hit Britain’s Indian restaurants.

On the prospects of a pact with the Tories, Mr Farage recalled how the Brexit Party – which he formerly led – withdrew candidates in seats across the country in 2019 in a bid to help then Conservative prime minister Boris Johnson win.


Speaking at a press conference in central London, Reform UK honorary president Mr Farage said: “I have absolutely no interest of any kind at all in doing anything with them.

General Election campaign 2024
Nigel Farage speaks as Richard Tice looks on during a press conference to announce their party’s legal immigration policy. Photo: James Manning/PA.

“My reply was deeply sarcastic. What are they ever going to give me? The answer is three-fifths of five-eighths of very little.


“There is no deal with the Conservatives whatsoever.”

Mr Tice added: “In any form of life, and particularly in a really dull election, there’s nothing wrong with having a sense of humour, a bit of banter.”

He added: “As Nigel said, our trust has been completely and utterly betrayed.”

Mr Tice then went on to compare the situation to a “good-looking” plumber who continually fails to fix a leak, adding: “Eventually you say ‘No, actually it’s you’, a bad workman blames his tools and you get a different plumber.


“And that’s why the Tories, who people have trusted, they betrayed us all and frankly they need to be fired.”

General Election campaign 2024
Mr Farage had suggested ‘we might have a conversation’ about what the Conservatives could offer Reform, remarks later dismissed as ‘banter’ by Mr Tice. Photo: James Manning/PA.

Mr Farage, who earlier declared the election is “over” and said Reform wants to win seats to be the “voice of opposition to a Labour government”, said of the Conservatives: “We have absolutely no interest in working with a group of people who betrayed my personal trust, damaged my personal reputation by actually trusting them in 2019 to do what they delivered.

“And the reason this election has gone is those red wall voters – even if we did not stand a candidate – who are saying at the moment they will vote Reform would not vote for them.

“There’s absolutely zero prospect of any of that, I will in future not make any jokes when I’m answering questions ever again.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has already ruled out a deal with Reform, which is putting pressure on the Tories over issues including immigration policy.

On Reform’s latest idea, Mr Tice said the UK has an “addiction” to “cheap overseas labour”.

He said: “What we need is a cure to this addiction and the cure is an employer immigration tax.”


Mr Tice added: “This will change people’s thoughts and behaviour. We believe over one electoral cycle that this employer immigration tax will raise over £20 billion; it varies, of course, on how quickly employers adjust their recruitment processes.”

Mr Tice said it was hoped such a policy would encourage firms to invest in apprenticeships and training for young British workers.

When it was pointed out such a policy would hit Britain’s Indian restaurants and kebab shops and therefore could be considered a “curry tax”, Mr Farage laughed before noting he enjoys going for a late night curry.

Mr Farage pointed to efforts to train British people to become curry chefs, saying: “The point is to reduce our reliance on overseas unskilled labour.

“Clearly somebody who is a qualified curry chef is not going to be in the unskilled or low wage bracket.

“What Richard is laying out here is it’s about incentives and disincentives.”

Mr Farage said the aim is to help more British people of working age to secure employment, adding: “One of the ways you do that is to give them more opportunities.

“What is pretty sure about your curry example is that this policy applied would lead to an increase in wages, and therefore a much greater temptation to become a waiter, a much better temptation to train as a chef.”

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