Farage-Founded Reform Party Surges to Third Place in YouGov Polls

HARTLEPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Brexit party chairman, Richard Tice, announces his inte
Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

The small-‘c’ conservative Reform UK party led by Richard Tice has climbed to third place in the latest YouGov Westminster voting intention survey.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s governing Conservative (Tory) Party continues to struggle to find support among the public, who are suffering the impact of cost of living and energy crises, the highest tax burden since the Second World War, and widespread public sector strikes, resulting in just 23 per cent of Britons now backing them.

The struggles of the Tories and their insistence on pursuing a high tax and high migration agenda has left room on the political right for a challenger. This has come in the form of the former Brexit Party, which rebranded itself as Reform UK following the Britain’s official departure from the European Union in 2020.

The right-wing populist party, led by businessman Richard Tice after Nigel Farage stepped back from frontline politics, has surged in recent weeks, and according to the YouGov polling agency is now the third most popular party in the country, edging out the Liberal Democrats, whose support has fallen to 8 per cent.

One of the chief issues leading to the rise of the Reform Party has been immigration, with the Tories failing to control either illegal boat migration or indeed bring down net migration as it promised it would in the last four elections.

This has widely been seen in the country as a betrayal of the Brexit movement, in which figures such as Boris Johnson pledged that they would “take back control” of the nation’s borders once free of the European Union.

A survey earlier this month found that nearly six in ten Brexit voters would consider supporting an alternative party that made immigration a central campaign issue.

Along with the political resurgence of the leftist Labour Party, the siphoning of support from the right to the Reform Party could spell electoral disaster for the Tories.

Reform had a history of successfully taking on the Conservative Party when it was the Brexit Party, notably in the 2019 European Parliament elections which saw the then-Nigel Farage-led party humiliate the then-Theresa May-led Tories, ultimately leading to her political downfall.

However, later that year, Mr Farage decided to stand down his party in key seats in the general election, in order to allow Boris Johnson to have a clear shot at gaining the parliamentary majority required to finally deliver Brexit after years of dithering.

Johnson, in typically egoistic fashion, declined to stand down the Tories in seats where Farage’s party stood the better chance of winning — but Reform has no intention of standing aside again.

In an interview with GB News, leader Richard Tice said: “We’re going to stand candidates everywhere. I’ve never said this before, but the simple fact is in 2019 we stood down. We allowed the Conservative Party to get a thumping majority in order to run the country properly, and to get Brexit done.

“And what have they done? They’ve ruined the economy. They haven’t done Brexit properly. Our public services are in a state. Frankly, they’ve had their chance. They’ve blown it, they’ve messed up and they’ve made lives worse for everybody.”

Mr Tice, who will be standing in the Hartlepool constituency (electoral district) in the next election, said that the Tories should return Farage’s favour to them in 2019, and stand down in favour of Reform in seats which they have no chance of winning.

“We stood down for them, so the right thing now for the country is for them to stand down, and stand aside,” Tice said.

“Let me stand against Keir Starmer — I will beat him hands down. They’ve had their chance and they’ve blown it. Nothing could be worse than what this Conservative Party has done to our country in recent years.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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