FORMER Home Secretary Suella Braverman has said that the Conservative Party faces “an existential threat” from Nigel Farage’s Reform UK.

In a discussion with Camilla Tominey on GB News, she refused to say if she would run in the forthcoming leadership contest and described the party’s defeat in the election as a “shattering disaster”.

Braverman said: “This is because, unlike 2019 and unlike in 2022, we have the luxury of being an opposition. There is no urgency to install a new leader.

“What is urgent and absolutely essential now is that we as a party reflect and accept what got us into this existentially damaging situation. And at the moment, that’s what concerns me the most there is still disagreement.

“There are many of my colleagues both inside parliament and outside who believe that we just need to do more of the same.

“First of all I would say is I didn’t really take part in this campaign. So I didn’t do any media. I shared my thoughts and I think most of the things I wrote were about attacking Labour and the kind of doom that awaits us under Labour, something that horrifies me and that’s what we really need to get ourselves in gear for to oppose and expose all the harmful damaging things that they’re going to be doing.

“But the reality is that I’ve not been in charge of this party, have not been part of the Cabinet for many months. Decisions were made above my head. But I think the point with that and the point you’re making is, if they’re making mistakes, it is incumbent on some of us at least to point out, but I did it privately for many years.

“I wasn’t listened to. Sometimes you need to say things and they need to be heard and we do that by putting country first and I’m afraid party second. The point is, I think it’s disingenuous to blame people like myself for pointing out the mistakes, when actually the cause of the problem is with the mistakes themselves.

“The point that we need to talk about is what went wrong together. Those of us who said things were going wrong are not at fault and I’m not allocating blame to others. We’ve got to be really careful about this. This is not about pointing the finger and saying this one got it wrong and this one’s a bad person. We’re all in this together.

“That’s why the first thing I said when I got re-elected was I’m sorry. I’m sorry to the British people, my party let you down. I’m implicated as well. We’re all in this together. Like ,I’m not passing the blame on to anybody else.

“We’ve all got to take responsibility. We’ve all got to be honest, searingly honest, it’s going to be uncomfortable for some people. We’ve got to be honest about what went wrong, because otherwise we don’t have any hope of fixing it.”

She was asked how could she expect people to be disciplined and loyal when she was not loyal to Rishi Sunak: “Well, what is party discipline? What is loyalty? Over the last many, several years, we’ve had Prime Minister after Prime Minister.

“I mean, many people accused Rishi Sunak of bringing down Boris Johnson. Many people were dismayed that Boris Johnson was brought down in the way that he was but I’m not going to get into pointing the finger at people.

“What I’m just trying to say is that this is not about the superficial thing of, ‘well you’re not nice, and you’re a bit spiky and you’re a bit rude and you didn’t you all sing from the hymn sheet. That’s not the problem.

“The problem is much more profound. We didn’t deliver on our promises and we were not a conservative party. We said we wanted to lower immigration. We categorically did not do that. We said we wanted to lower taxation. We raised taxes. We said we were a party of common sense and yet children were mutilated in our schools and in our NHS on our watch.

“That’s why we failed, not because there were a few of us who wrote a few articles here and they’re pointing out the problem.”

Braverman said immigration rose because Rishi Sunak did not support her plans: “The reason why, despite best efforts, both privately and otherwise,I was unable to lower immigration is because I was blocked. The reality of government is that you cannot act unilaterally.

“You might have the best idea, you might want to just even do something radical, like honour a manifesto pledge, which is what I wanted to do. But if no one else agrees with you around the Cabinet table, you’re not going to get very far.

“I’m not going to blame civil servants. That’s the weak minister’s approach. The minister decides and directs and with the Prime Minister sign off, policy gets determined. Unfortunately, as I’ve set out over the months, the Prime Minister didn’t support me on the plan to lower migration, which is why immigration soared.

“I knocked on thousands of doors during this all over the country, I went to help colleagues in different parts of the country and I heard the same message everywhere I went, and people would whisper it. They were fearful of saying it. They would say something like this: ’Suella, I’m not a racist and I’m very nervous about saying this but immigration’s too high and the illegal migrants coming across the Channel is unacceptable.

“And I would say to them, I know you’re not racist. It’s not racist to want to control our borders. And people are scared about talking about it. We didn’t solve that problem.

“We promised time and time again to lower immigration. We didn’t do it. We promised time and time again to stop the boats. We didn’t do it. And that’s on us. And so I think that that’s why we failed. This is not about lurching to the right or lurching to the ref left. It’s about simply doing what we said we would do and that’s what I’m talking about when it comes to credibility.

“We didn’t leave the European Convention on Human Rights, that would have stopped the boats. That’s why we did lack credibility. We said we would do whatever would take, we didn’t do whatever it would take.”

She added: “Listen, we have to make a decision about what kind of party we want to be. I believe in British politics there’s space only for one Conservative Party and that’s why we lost this election.

“Our vote went from about 13 million in 2019 to just under 7 million this week. We lost hundreds of brilliant Conservative MPs because of Reform.

“Millions of our voters were betrayed and angry with the Conservatives and they went to an alternative, Reform.

“I believe whoever’s leading the party, whoever’s in the party needs to acknowledge this basic truth, that we are facing an existential threat from Reform and we need to change ourselves to ensure that we neutralise that threat, that we bring those people back home.”

She was asked if she would join Reform: “Listen, this is not about which party we’re in. Actually, this is about what the Conservative Party stands for. We should be standing for lower migration, lower taxation, common sense, more housing, aspiration. We’ve got to provide a hope for the next generation.

“We failed to build enough houses, for example. We failed to actually tackle some of the structural defects in the NHS. We were voting more on pedicabs and smoking bans in the last six months rather than the NHS.

“I want us to welcome people who support the agenda of low tax, low immigration, leaving the European Court of Human Rights building more houses, empowering young people and being proud of our country. To the point I said, it can be unifying, you’re not necessarily going to be able to achieve that because you’ve got to send in the party, but these are all of the things that reform want.”

Braverman was asked if she had considered defecting to Reform, she said: “I’m in the Conservative Party. I’ve been in the Conservative Party since I was a teenager. I’m one of those geeks who joined when I was about I think 15 or 16.

“My mum was a councillor. I blame her. She persuaded me to join. Listen, my heart is in the Conservative Party. I’ve grown up in the Conservative Party. I fought so many elections. I’ve been elected just now as a Conservative.

“I have looked at the Reform party because I have been listening to what they’re saying. And I have met many, many Reform voters during this campaign, people who are lifelong Conservatives.

“I’ve listened to them and they said, we’ve backed the party for decades and we are furious with your party, Suella, and we’re going to Reform and I’ve been listening to them. Attacking Reform voters as being racist or thugs is not the right attitude, demeaning that party is not the right attitude.

“We don’t have any god-given entitlement to exist or to those voters. We need to be humble. We need to be humble in the face of the very strong feedback we’ve got from our own core voters, millions of people in this election. And if we don’t stop and listen to what they’re saying, which is very, very clear, okay, and very simple – you’re going to fail.

Asked if she would serve under a new leader who was like RIshi Sunak, she said: “These kinds of discussions are so premature, with respect.

“As I said, we’re right now in the place of the aftermath of a devastating result. Sure, Tory MPs are demoralised, our members are exhausted. Everyone’s just waking up from a shattering disaster and we can’t make decisions like that.

“That’s why what I’m trying to say is we all need to take stock. We don’t have the burden of government right now. We don’t need to rush into a knee jerk reaction or a rushed leadership decision.

“We need some stability and Rishi Sunak has announced that he’s going to resign but he has to stay just to maintain…a functional party, but we can’t have this introspective soul-searching going on indefinitely we also need to get fighting fit and start opposing the Labour Party, because I tell you what, they are going to use this window whilst we are navel-gazing to bring in pretty harmful things to our country…”

Barverman was asked if she has had talks with Kemi Badenoch: ‘I’m very encouraged by a lot of the conversations I’m having with lots of colleagues at the moment. At the moment, as I say, everyone is very, very disappointed and just sad.

“A lot of my colleagues, as I said, have just lost their jobs. Everyone loves the drama of politics, [whether] it’s a blue team or the red team but there’s a massive human impact. These are people’s jobs. These are their livelihoods. For many of my colleagues, this came as a total and utter shock through no fault of their own.

“They were brilliant community champions. They were embedded in their constituencies. They’d worked for decades, experts in their fields, brilliant campaigners, and out of a job overnight just like that. It’s been a shock for many people. And I do think we need to accept that human impact on them, their teams, their families, but also regroup.

“The most pressing need right now is for us to acknowledge the problem and agree on the problem. And that’s what concerns me the most, there are still those in my party who are saying we need to do more of what we’ve just been doing.

“We need to cut out members for example, in the selection of the leader, there is a serious effort afoot in the party by certain groups to cut out the members and disenfranchise them and they want to ensure that MPs regain the right and the exclusive right to choose the leader. That would be totally devastating to our party.

“I’m afraid I’m a dog with a bone. I’m having lots of conversations with colleagues. I’m very flattered and very encouraged by what people are saying to me, right?

“This is a really difficult time for our party. There are lots of things to think about. We need to agree on the diagnosis of the problem before we reach a resolution on the prescription. I’m having lots of conversations and reflecting.”