NIGEL Farage has set out his goal for Reform UK to effectively take over the Conservative Party – and potentially put him in Downing Street.

The veteran Eurosceptic, now installed as Reform UK leader and seeking to win the Clacton seat at the General Election, suggested a “chunk” of the Conservatives could join his party.

He compared the situation to Canadian politics, where Stephen Harper had been elected as a Reform MP but went on to head a “new Conservative” government.

Farage on Monday U-turned on his previous suggestion he would not stand in this General Election, opting to fight in Clacton and being installed as Reform leader in place of Richard Tice.

He had previously suggested he could be open to talks with the Tories, but suggested he could not work with them in their current form.

READ MORE: Nigel Farage confirms he WILL stand for Reform in election

Instead, he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain his goal was to take the Conservative Party over, rather than join it.

“You can speculate as to what’ll happen in three or four years’ time, all I will tell you is if Reform succeed in the way that I think they can, then a chunk of the Conservative Party will join us – it’s the other way around,” he said.

He pointed to Canada, where “Reform did a reverse takeover of the Conservative Party, rebranded it and Stephen Harper – who was elected as a Reform MP – became the Canadian prime minister for 10 years”.

He said: “I don’t want to join the Conservative Party, I think the better thing to do would be to take it over.”

Farage’s return to the political fray came as Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer prepared for their first televised showdown of the campaign at 9pm on ITV.

The National: Foreign Secretary James Cleverly

The Tories appear on course for a heavy defeat on July 4, according to projections by pollsters, with YouGov suggesting they could be reduced to just 140 seats.

Home Secretary James Cleverly (above) told Sky News the only poll that mattered was on July 4 but added: “If you are asking ‘would I prefer going into the last few weeks of this election campaign with the polls in our favour?’, of course I would prefer that.”

He insisted people were “completely unconvinced by Labour” and Sir Keir.

“At these turbulent times, handing control of the country to a man who doesn’t even really seem to be in control of his own shadow cabinet is probably not a good idea.”

He also sought to play down the impact of Farage’s decision to stand, which could further erode Conservative support.

“The last time I heard him make reference to Clacton, he was saying that he didn’t want to spend every Friday in Clacton,” Cleverly told Sky News.

“Reform has always been a vehicle for Nigel Farage’s self-promotion, I think Richard Tice is now discovering that rather painfully.”