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Nigel Farage says he will run in UK election, a blow to Conservative Party

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Nigel Farage, a Brexit supporter and serial disruptor of British politics, announced on Monday that he plans to run in next month’s British general election, dealing a new setback to the prospects of embattled Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Mr Farage said last month He will not seek parliamentary seat, because the July 4 election announcement took him by surprise and he wanted to prioritize supporting Donald J. Trump’s campaign in the U.S.

But Farage reversed that decision on Monday, saying he would take over as leader of the Reform UK Party – the successor to the Brexit Party he once led – and run for a seat in Parliament.

“I changed my mind – you know, it’s allowed,” he said. “I’m going to stand in this election,” adding that he would run in Clacton, a seaside area with strong support for Brexit.

The announcement comes on the eve of one of the biggest events so far in the U.K. general election campaign: a televised debate between Sunak and opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer.

Sunak is already under enormous pressure as his Conservative Party lags badly in opinion polls and the general election campaign has had a mishap-ridden start.

Farage’s change of heart could worsen the prime minister’s prospects because, according to analysts, Reform Britain could take away a large number of Conservative votes.

Mr Farage, a charismatic figure known for his communication skills, was one of the architects of Brexit, which Britons narrowly voted to leave the European Union in a 2016 referendum. Some analysts believe his early decision not to run in the election sapped some of the momentum of the British reform movement.

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