It is a notable feather in Nigel Farage’s cap that his new evening show on GB News has already become essential viewing for Tory high-ups.
Last week brought a series of reports by well-connected commentators suggesting that Boris Johnson was worried about Farage highlighting the government’s chaotic failure to stem the cross-Channel flow of migrant boats. The issue has suddenly shot up the list of issues mentioned by Tory voters, with new polling from Redfield & Wilton Strategies now identifying immigration as their top concern.
This week the former Ukip leader has touched another nerve with some Tory MPs by wondering aloud whether their party’s green obsession is reaching a pitch that is going to put off many of its core voters.
‘I begin to think that Number 10 has been completely overtaken by a certain type of Green,’ said Farage. ‘I call them Richmond Greens. They live in £2million houses. They’re not really bothered about the fact that domestic bills are going up.’
When the comments were put out on the GB News twitter feed they were promptly retweeted by the ‘red wall’ Conservative MP Scott Benton, whose Blackpool South constituency is a long way from leafy Richmond-upon-Thames (where in reality one would need closer to £4million than £2million to buy a show-stopping home).
Mr Benton is unlikely to be alone among the new breed of Conservative MPs who are finely attuned to the outlook of blue-collar Britain in thinking that Farage is onto something.
While the peg for the Farage sortie was the rumpus over the advice of Allegra Stratton, the Government’s COP26 spokeswoman, that people should not rinse their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, his singling out of Richmond suggested he believes that two other figures are at the heart of the Tory eco-push.