Nigel Farage is now far more popular among Conservative voters than Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

By Thomas Brooke
5 Min Read

Broadcaster and former frontline politician Nigel Farage is now more popular among Conservative voters than Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, recent polling has revealed.

The ex-UKIP and Brexit Party leader has seen his popularity among the conservative grassroots surge after a three-week stint in the Australian jungle on the hit U.K. reality TV show “I’m A Celebrity: Get Me Out Of Here,” storming ahead of the current Conservative leader who now has a net negative rating among voters for his own party.

The survey, conducted by the JL Partners polling agency, showed Farage’s popularity score had risen to +18 among voters who backed the Conservative Party in the last general election in 2019. A total of 46 percent viewed him positively, compared to 28 percent who held a negative view of the GB News presenter.

Farage’s score has soared from a net positive rating of +1 before the show, vindicating his decision to take part in the show which he believed was an opportunity to appeal to a wider audience ahead of a much-rumored return to frontline politics.

By comparison, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s popularity has plummeted to a net negative score of -3 among his own party’s voters and the U.K. leader has a score of -41 among the wider electorate compared to Farage’s -29.

Since leaving the Australian jungle, during which he was prohibited from communicating with the outside world and keeping up with current affairs, Farage has launched a full-scale attack on the governing Conservatives’ Rwanda asylum deal — the flagship policy of Rishi Sunak’s leadership.

“This government is in desperate trouble and headed for catastrophic defeat,” he said after touching down at London Heathrow airport.

“They’ve no idea what’s coming down the track towards them. And I think the last thing I heard before I went into the jungle was that Cameron was back… if it’s got that bad, they must be in real trouble.

“And I see that he’s just about managed to squeak through a vote on Rwanda. But I mean, it’s going to make no difference at all. No, they’re in dire, dire trouble. And all Labour have to do is, frankly, not tear each other apart, and play safe and the election is theirs I think,” he added.

Commenting on the polling, Farage said he was “absolutely astonished by it”.

“Amongst 2019 Conservative voters, my approval rating has risen 20 percent in my time in the jungle, putting me 21 percent ahead of Rishi.

“It’s all very flattering, a little bit bewildering. It’s going to take some time for me to really take it on board. But fascinating, right?” he said.

The Conservative government avoided a humiliating defeat on Tuesday evening, managing to scrape through the Second Reading of its Rwanda asylum policy and avoid the first government defeat on a bill at that stage in 37 years.

Several right-wing factions within the party expressed their concern that the bill in its current format will be insufficient in stopping the illegal immigration crisis on England’s southern border from mainland Europe, and leaders of parliamentary groupings urged their members not to support the bill.

However, when it came to the vote, just 37 MPs abstained – fewer than half of those expected – which saw the bill progress to the Committee Stage by 313 votes in favor to 269 against.

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