Nigel Farage “should be welcomed” by the Conservative Party, former home secretary Suella Braverman has said.

In an interview with The Times, the Fareham MP said the Tories are a “broad church”, and should not exclude anyone who wants “Conservatives to get elected”.

Her comments come days after a poll suggested Mr Farage, the Reform UK leader, is the most popular option to succeed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as leader of the Conservatives if Labour wins the General Election - despite many polled being uncertain about who should lead the Tories.

Ms Braverman told The Times: “We need to, in the future, to find some way to work together because there shouldn’t be big differences between us.

“I would welcome Nigel into the Conservative Party. There’s not much difference really between him and many of the policies that we stand for.

“We are a broad church, we should be a welcoming party and an inclusive party and if someone is supportive of the party, that’s a pre-condition and they want Conservatives to get elected then they should be welcomed.”

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A poll by Redfield and Wilton, conducted for The Independent, surveyed 2,000 adults on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.

It showed 19 per cent of people think Mr Farage should take over from Mr Sunak, with 22 per cent of 2019 Conservative voters surveyed agreeing.

The largest proportion (48 per cent) of those surveyed said they did not know who should replace Mr Sunak as leader of the Conservatives.

The poll offered six other names – Penny Mordaunt (15 per cent), James Cleverly (six per cent), Kemi Badenoch (five per cent), Suella Braverman (four per cent), Priti Patel (two per cent) and Robert Jenrick (one per cent).

To add to the worrying polls for the Tories, 37 per cent of people surveyed said the Reform UK party should replace the Conservatives as the major opposition to Labour, with 30 per cent disagreeing.