Nigel Farage Declares Conservative Party Brand ‘Utterly Broken’ as Reform Continues to Surge in Polls

Nigel Farage leader of Britain's Reform Party, speaks during a press conference in Westmin
AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

The Conservative Party’s brand in Britain is “utterly broken” after abandoning core principles in favour of big tent neo-liberalism, Reform UK leader Nigel Farage said as his party continues to surge in polls.

Mr Farage, who is seeking to have his Reform Party supersede the Tories as the main ‘small-c’ conservative party in the United Kingdom, said that only a “very, very small minority” of Tory MPs are “what I call conservative”.

Speaking with The Telegraph, the Brexit leader said that there has been a “steady erosion” of the party’s values, saying: “The Brexit debate has exposed the broad church argument – it might be a broad church, but it has no religion. It has no faith. So what’s the point of it?”

“Boris leaving, in some ways, was part of it,” he said. “But actually, Boris was part of the problem. Because he never really believed in what he was saying. And that was very clear.

“I mean, Rishi is trying to roll back over that net zero stuff, all the lunacy, the trans stuff, the Stonewall stuff. I mean, the Johnson years were the most un-conservative the Conservative party has ever seen. He just had the charisma and the bravado to carry it off for a bit.

“But what we really woke up to was a slow, steady erosion of trust, to a point where one day it becomes a betrayal. That’s how a lot of people feel.”

Conversely, Mr Farage’s Reform UK — previously known as the Brexit Party — has been riding high.

With the Tories failing to deliver on basic elements of their platform, namely taking the tax burden to its highest level since the Second World War, and failing to stop the illegal boat migrant crisis in the English Channel or meaningfully reduce mass legal migration, Reform sent shockwaves through the political establishment in Britain this week by surpassing the Conservatives in a national election YouGov poll.

Mocking Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has attempted to claim that his slight reduction of mass migration — down from a record high the year before — Farage said he is “one a slippery spinner… if net migration goes from 700,000 to 690,000, it’s a victory”.

However, while much of the Reform leader’s ire has been focused on the failure of the Tories to deliver on the opportunities of Brexit, issues such as migration are part of a broader economic argument being made to traditional Labour voters in left-behind areas of the country. Reform believes many in these areas are not enthusiastic about backing Sir Keir Starmer and the largely metropolitan Labour Party, which focuses most of its energy on fashionable woke issues rather than those impacting working-class communities.

One such region Reform will look to target is Wales, which has been governed by the Labour Party since power was devolved to Cardiff from Westminster under former Labour Party PM Tony Blair in 1999. The Farage-led party reportedly intends to highlight the “disaster” that has been Labour governance in the devolved government for working-class Welsh communities, most of which backed the Brexit referendum in 2016.

While Britain’s first-past-the-post system heavily advantages the two main establishment parties and therefore will likely make it difficult for Reform to pick up more seats in Parliament than the Tories — even if they gain more votes nationally in the July 4th election — the party has been surging. A fresh poll from Survation put the upstart party at picking up seven seats, up from zero just last month. The “momentum is building,” Mr Farage said.

“I intend to build an enormous grassroots movement across this country of people who believe that PC Westminster talk doesn’t reflect their lives, their aspirations, their hopes and their fears. The referendum showed us the disconnect – it is even bigger now.”

“I have no idea where this journey ends… But the important thing to remember is, this is not a commando raid. This is not a quick hit and get out. I made a big commitment for the next five years.”

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