Nigel Farage’s Reform has overtaken the Conservative party in a poll for the first time.

YouGov found that 19% of voters were ready to support the prominent Brexiteer and his candidates, while the Tories were on 18%.

Labour were far ahead on 37%, while the Lib Dem were on 14% and the Greens on 7%.

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After the poll was released Mr Farage, taking part in a seven way debate on ITV, declared: “We are now the real opposition to Labour.”

The survey, undertaken for The Times, will make grim reading for the Tories, particularly as it was carried out after Rishi Sunak published his manifesto.

It also showed that 56% of voters described the Prime Minister’s decision to leave D-Day early was a “serious error” that reflected badly on his character. This included 64% of Reform voters and 48% of people who had yet to decide who to vote for.

Anthony Wells, head of European political and social research at YouGov, said the poll was significant as it was the first to reach the “politically important point of showing Reform ahead of the Conservatives”.

He continued: “Obviously all polls have a margin of error, so we can’t conclude for certain that more voters now back Nigel Farage’s party over the Conservatives.

"But what it does make clear is that at the very least the Conservatives and Reform are at a very similar level of support to each other.

"That in itself is remarkable given how close we are to an election when we might otherwise have expected smaller parties’ votes to be squeezed.”

During the ITV debate, Tory MP Penny Mordaunt described Mr Farage as "a Labour enabler."

Mr Farage responded: “I don’t believe a single word that you say, you have deceived us in the last four manifestos. I don’t believe you at the fifth.

“And as for being a Labour enabler, we are now ahead of you in the national polls. A vote for you is actually now a vote for Labour.”

The Reform leader also lashed with the SNP's Stephen Flynn.

When one audience member asked the panel what their political parties were planning to do about immigration, Mr Farage accused Labour's Angela Rayner and Ms Mordaunt of doing nothing.

"The answer to your question is, what are they going to do about it? Neither of them are going to do anything. These people have lied to us repeatedly," he said.

"Ha, says you" Mr Flynn interrupted, adding "You've made a career of doing that."

Mr Farage replied: "I've actually always told the truth" prompting audience laughter.

Earlier in the day, Mr Farage said he wanted to lead a merged Conservative and Reform party after the general election.

The Brexiteer said he believed the Tories “may well be dead” and that he is “capable of leading a national opposition to a Labour party with a big majority.”

He added: “I would be prepared to lead the centre-right in this country, a centre-right that stands up for small business, a centre-right that believes in borders, a centre-right that isn’t scared of standing up for the British people.”

Speaking to Times Radio. Lord David Cameron said Tories backing Reform would help bring in a Labour government.

Asked if his heart sank when Mr Farage announced he was standing, Lord Cameron replied: “I don’t think my heart did anything particularly, it was just you know, I’m very focused on winning for the blue team.”

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A number of senior Tories have seemingly accepted defeat and are now urging voters not to give Labour too big a victory on July 4.

Yesterday, ex-attorney general, Sir Geoffrey Cox, said Britain was “sleepwalking into a one-party socialist state.”

“The consequences would be horrific, not just for the Conservative Party and for the country, but also for Labour because having an opposition is important,” he warned.

"We would be facing a government with untrammelled power.

“And it's a wake-up call. It doesn't mean it's going to happen. It needn't happen.”

However, Lord Cameron insisted the Tories could still win the election.

He told Times Radio: “I remember fighting the election in 2015 and people said I didn’t have a chance.

"And we were behind in the polls and we kept going and we had a clear plan, we had a strong team, and we came through and won the election.

“So anything is possible.”