Fury among the Tories after Conservative MPs claim they were offered a ‘£400,000 bribe’ to ‘defect’ to Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party
The Tory Party is considering a complaint to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle after MPs said they had been approached with a £400,000-plus ‘bribe’ to join Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party.
Sources said a number of Conservative MPs ‘have reported to senior party staff that they have been offered significant financial incentives to defect’.
They say the offers were based on an agreement that if they joined Reform UK – founded with support from Mr Farage in 2018 as the Brexit Party – they would be guaranteed to receive several years of their MP’s salary if they lost their seat after defecting.
From this April, MPs’ pay will rise to £86,584, or well over £400,000 for a full Parliament. Reform UK, of which Mr Farage is Honorary President, dismissed the incentives claim last night and accused the Tories of peddling ‘desperate nonsense’.
But senior Tory figures – who fear Reform will split the Right-wing vote in pivotal Red Wall seats of the North and Midlands – are taking legal advice over whether the Bribery Act might have been breached by an offer of money.
Offers were based on an agreement that if they joined Reform UK – founded with support from Nigel Farage (pictured) in 2018 as the Brexit Party – they would be guaranteed to receive several years of their MP’s salary if they lost their seat after defecting
A source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘We have been told that people representing Reform have offered MPs financial deals worth hundreds of thousands of pounds to defect to the party. This offer is that if they should do so and lose their seat at the next General Election, then Reform would pay them between three and five years’ worth of their MP’s salary.’
It is understood that if a formal complaint is made to the Speaker, he would refer it to election watchdog the Electoral Commission.
The ‘bribe’ claims come after Reform leader Richard Tice ruled out a pact with the Conservatives at the next General Election and threatened to field a candidate against every Tory MP.
With Rishi Sunak’s party trailing Labour badly in the polls, the threat has sparked fears of a ‘True Blue’ wipeout at the Election, which is expected in 2024. Mr Farage’s Brexit Party – which became Reform UK in 2021 – helped Boris Johnson to his 2019 Election landslide by not standing in Tory-held constituencies.
But last month, in a scathing verdict on the Tories’ record in power, Mr Tice branded them high-tax ‘Consocialists’ and claimed: ‘The Tories have broken Britain, they have wrecked our country.’
He railed against the UK’s record tax burden and the number of people on benefits as he demanded that the Government ‘make work pay’ and called for Ministers to make better use of the nation’s ‘energy treasure’.
Mr Tice also claimed immigration was ‘completely out of control’, adding: ‘Surely one of the most important things a government can do is maintain secure borders – to know who’s coming in and going out.’
Last night, a Reform UK spokesman dismissed the Conservative claims of wooing potential defectors with financial incentives.
He said: ‘This just shows how worried the Tories are about the impact of Reform when they are resorting to this desperate nonsense.
‘They can be assured that the increasing number of members, councillors and voters deserting the Tory Party to join Reform are doing it primarily because of the Tories’ woeful lack of courage and leadership.’