Scotland’s First Minister has claimed Nigel Farage eventually becoming Conservative leader is a “likelihood”.

Some commentators have touted the Reform UK leader as a potential candidate to succeed Rishi Sunak if the Prime Minister quits following the election and the long-time Brexiteer is elected to Parliament in the Clacton seat.

But Mr Farage has distanced himself from joining the Tories, saying: “I have no intention of being a member of the Conservative Party at any point.”

Speaking to the Daily Record, John Swinney said the current Conservative Party is not one he recognises.

Asked if the former Ukip leader could cross the floor following the election and become Tory leader, Mr Swinney said: “Yes, I think there is every possibility. I might even go as far as to say ‘likelihood’ that might be the case.

“I don’t recognise the Conservative Party.

“The Conservative Party is just drifting itself into a position where, actually, it is really quite at ease with the arguments of Nigel Farage.”

John Swinney will hands raised, talking to the media during a photocall in a supermarket
First Minister John Swinney was asked about Nigel Farage’s potential future in Westminster (Jane Barlow/PA)

The First Minister went on to say it is even a “possibility” that Mr Farage could become prime minister in future, should a Labour government installed on July 4 fail to impress enough to remain in power long-term.

Mr Swinney’s comments come as Reform UK overtook the Greens in Scotland in a recent YouGov poll, rising from 4% to 7%.

Under the rules of the Conservative Party, leadership hopefuls must be MPs, meaning Mr Farage could – if he so wished – win in Clacton then cross the floor to the Tories and stand for any future leadership vacancy.

His future membership of the party has been hotly-debated within the Tories, with senior members – including former home secretary Suella Braverman – saying they should embrace Mr Farage in a bid to “unite the right”.

A Scottish Tory spokesman said: “Every vote for Reform could help the SNP, so no wonder John Swinney is cheerleading for Nigel Farage in this election.

“In those seats where it’s a straight fight between the Scottish Conservatives and the SNP, every vote for a party like Reform will boost the SNP’s chances of getting in by the back door.

“Even a handful of votes for Reform in key seats up and down Scotland could risk the election of an SNP candidate obsessed by independence.”