Nigel Farage has announced that he will replace Richard Tice as the leader of Reform UK and stand at the general election.

The surprise bid for a Westminster seat comes after he insisted he was going to sit this vote out to help Donald Trump campaign for the White House. 

He said he changed his mind after people kept asking him why he wasn’t standing. He said he felt he was letting them down.

One pollster said the announcement could pose an "existential risk" to the Tories. 

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The party was already struggling in the polls. 

A YouGov MRP mega-survey carried out for Sky News, suggested Labour were on course for their biggest election victory in history, beating Tony Blair's 1997 landslide.

Even Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tory leader struggled to answer when asked if he thought Rishi Sunak would win the General Election.

The Herald had to ask the Holyrood Tory leader three times if he thought his party would triumph on July 4.

Announcing his bid for Westminster, Mr Farage told a press conference in London, he felt a "terrible sense of guilt" at not standing.

The ex-MEP added: “Difficult though it is, I can’t let down those millions of people, I simply can’t do it, it’d be wrong.

“So I have decided I’ve changed my mind, it’s allowed you know, it’s not always a sign of weakness, it could potentially be a sign of strength.

“So I am going to stand in this election.”

Mr Farage will stand in Clacton, Essex a constituency previously won by Ukip's Douglas Carswell.

It will be his eighth attempt at winning a seat in the Commons. The previous seven have all ended in failure. 

Mr Farage said he wanted to lead a “political revolt”, adding: “Yes, a revolt. A turning of our backs on the political status quo. It doesn’t work. Nothing in this country works any more.”

He said the Tories were "split down the middle on policy" and "don’t stand for a damn thing."

“So our aim in this election is to get many, many millions of votes. And I’m talking far more votes than Ukip can got back in 2015.”

He continued: “When people start to realise in the red wall, with Reform second to Labour, when they start to realise that actually in those seats, it’s a Conservative vote that’s a vote for Labour, it’s a Conservative vote that is a wasted vote, then I think we might just surprise everybody.”

“We are appealing to Conservative voters, we are appealing to Labour voters.”

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Luke Tryl, the UK Director of More in Common pointed to their recent MRP mega-poll - carried out before the announcement - showing the Tories losing 185 seats and holding another 50 by less than 4%.

"I think it is fair to say his decision poses an existential risk to the Tory Party," he added. 

A second MRP poll - carried out by YouGov for Sky News before Mr Farage's announcement - published on Monday evening predicted a Tory wipeout in large parts of the country.

The poll has Labour on 422 seats, up 221 compared to the 2019. 

That would give Sir Keir Starmer a majority of 194, more than 179 won by Tony Blair in 1997.

The Tories would fall to 140 seats, the Lib Dems would take 48 and the SNP would win 17, down 31 seats on the notional 2019 results.

The projection is based on interviews with 53,334 people in England and Wales and 5,541 in Scotland, with data collected between May 24 and June 1.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “The Conservative Party has already become the mirror image of Nigel Farage’s Reform.

“Rishi Sunak’s constant pandering to Reform has horrified former lifelong Conservative voters in the centre ground.

“Sunak must show some backbone and rule out Farage ever joining the Conservative Party in future, including if he gets elected to be an MP.”

Mr Ross was speaking to journalists at the First Bus depot in Glasgow’s southside, where he was outlining his party’s new policy proposal for a £2 cap on bus fares.

Asked if he thought his party could still win the election despite the poor showing in the polls, he replied: “Well, I'm looking at the response we're getting on the doorstep here in Scotland.

“I've been in East Renfrewshire, I've been in Moray, up in in the North East, in Glasgow today, going down to the borders later on and right across the country people can see in key seats where it's a straight choice between the Scottish Conservatives and the SNP, they're uniting behind the Scottish Conservatives.”

He said voters could not believe John Swinney was “still obsessing about independence” rather than the NHS, or education, and taxation.

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Asked again if he thought the Tories would win, he said: “I'm answering your question very specifically, by saying the opinion polls are not reflective of what I'm hearing on the doorsteps.

“In any part of Scotland I'm going to at the moment people can see that in key seats it's a straight choice between the Scottish Conservatives and the SNP and they are uniting behind the Scottish Conservatives, because of the way the SNP have handled public services here in Scotland for the last 17 years, 16 of which John Swinney has been at the heart of.”

Asked for a third time if Mr Sunak and the Tories could win the election, Mr Ross replied “Absolutely, and what I'm saying is that here in Scotland, people are uniting behind the Scottish Conservatives to beat the SNP, and that is the message that I'm taking out in key seats across the country.

"And we're getting a very positive response to that.”