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We can equal Tories in the polls within a week, Farage claims

June 3rd, 2024

Reform UK can equal the Conservatives in the polls within a week, Nigel Farage has claimed.

Mr Farage confirmed that he will stand as an MP in Clacton and take over from Richard Tice as leader of Reform in a shock press conference on Monday.

Asked what his ambitions were for his party in the polls, he told GB News: “I would hope within a week, we’re going to be equal with the Conservatives, maybe ahead.

“And I think that’s possible, and it’s possible because it won’t just be Tories switching, it will be Labour too.”

At the start of the campaign he said he would not be standing but this morning he tweeted that he would be making an “emergency general election announcement”.

Mr Farage said that he will be at the helm of Reform for the next five years, and that he intended to lead “a political revolt”.

He told the press conference: “Yes, a revolt, a turning of our backs on the political status quo. It doesn’t work.

“Nothing in this country works anymore. The health service doesn’t work. The roads don’t work. None of our public services are up to scratch. We are in decline. This will only be turned around with boldness.”

Announcing he was standing as an MP, Mr Farage said “millions of people” would feel let down if he didn’t “lead from the front”.

He said that he made the decision at 2pm on Sunday, telling the conference: “I’ve changed my mind. It’s allowed, you know. It’s not always a sign of weakness, it could potentially be a sign of strength.”

In a video later published on X, Mr Farage declared he wanted to “make Britain great again” as he told voters: “I’m back”.

He will formally launch his candidacy in the Essex seaside town at midday on Tuesday “at the end of the pier”.

Clacton was the site of the only Ukip election victory back in 2014, when the ex-Tory MP Douglas Carswell won a by-election.

Mr Farage, the former Ukip leader, will hope to unseat the Conservative incumbent Giles Watling, who has a majority of 24,702.

The Conservatives accused Mr Farage of “doing exactly what Keir Starmer wants him to do”, with a spokesman adding: “Farage knows that Reform won’t win any seats, but he doesn’t seem to care that a vote for Reform only helps Labour”.


07:34 PM BST

Wetherspoons boss responds to Nigel Farage standing to be MP

Sir Tim Martin, the founder of JD Wetherspoon, has responded to Nigel Farage standing as an MP after the Reform UK leader praised the Clacton Wetherspoons during his press conference.

Mr Farage invited journalists to the formal launch of his candidacy in the Essex seaside town at midday tomorrow, adding: “There’s a very good Wetherspoons there”.

Sir Tim, a prominent Brexiteer, said that he had not yet decided who he would vote for at the next election and that he intended to “keep my own counsel”.

“I haven’t made up my mind which party I’ll vote for and intend to keep my own counsel. I’m going to listen carefully to what the parties have to say in the next month.

“My main personal criteria will be judging which party best supports free enterprise and most encourages business investment, domestic and foreign, in the UK.

“Also, the world is more dangerous today, so which party has the best policies for improving defence. Others will have their own views, but that’s my take on the general election.”


07:27 PM BST

Reform could be ahead of the Tories in the polls within a week, says Farage

Nigel Farage has said that Reform UK could be ahead of the Conservatives in the polls “within a week” after he announced his candidacy.

Asked on GB News what his ambitions were for Reform in terms of poll numbers over the coming weeks, the party’s leader said: “I would hope within a week, we’re going to be equal with the Conservatives, maybe ahead.

“And I think that’s possible and it’s possible because it won’t just be Tories switching, it will be Labour too.”


07:17 PM BST

Farage insists he will still spend time in the US even if elected as Clacton MP

Nigel Farage has insisted that he will still spend time in America supporting Donald Trump in the US election, even if he is elected as MP.

The leader of Reform UK had originally said that he would not stand at the general election, and would instead focus on what was happening in US politics alongside supporting Richard Tice.

Asked whether his plans for supporting Trump in the US had changed, he told GB News: “I said I would do my bit in the general election campaign and then spend more time in America.

“Clearly, if I’m elected for Clacton, I will not be able to spend the amount of time in America that I previously would but I still will. So it’s all about proportion.”

Camilla Tominey interviews Nigel Farage on GB News

Camilla Tominey interviews Nigel Farage on GB News


07:14 PM BST

Nigel Farage: ‘There is a buzz out there’

Nigel Farage has told GB News that he had partly decided to stand as an MP after sensing “a buzz out there” while campaigning for Reform UK over the last week.

“There is a buzz out there, there is something happening, particularly among young people, that’s very interesting.”

He added: But the thing that really got me were the number of people saying ‘but why are you not standing?’ And they look at you and you give a response and they look at you as if to say ‘you’ve let me down’. And I began to feel guilty about it.”

“And that people’s army that I built up in the UKIP days, the referendum days, millions of people who’ve been with me for a long, long time were feeling that I was letting them down and that feeling of guilt made me think ‘you know what, I can’t just leave them on their own’.”


07:00 PM BST

Who else is standing in Clacton?

There are four other parties with candidates standing against Nigel Farage in Clacton.

The current MP for the constituency, Giles Watling, is seeking re-election for the Conservatives.

Labour’s candidate is Jovan Owusu-Nepaul, and the Liberal Democrat candidate is Matthew Bensilum. Natasha Osben will be running for the Green Party.


06:54 PM BST

What do Telegraph readers think of Nigel Farage’s political comeback?


06:41 PM BST

Holly Valance suggests she would help Farage campaign

The former Neighbours star Holly Valance has suggested she would help Nigel Farage campaign to get elected as a Reform MP.

The former actress, who attended Mr Farage’s press conference, told GB News: “This is exactly what we all wanted. He gave the people what they asked for. Right move.”

She added: “I think it’s really important to go and listen to everyone and educate yourself on all sides and see who you find that your values and morals are closest to and for me it’s Reform and it has been for a little while. So I’m just gunning for that, I’m a paid-up member”.

Asked if she would help campaign for Mr Farage, she said: “If he asks me, probably.”

She added: “Does anyone want to see me knocking on their doors anymore? Maybe 20 years ago.”


06:27 PM BST

Watch: Nigel Farage shakes hands with Richard Tice

Richard Tice has now officially handed over the leadership of Reform UK to Nigel Farage.

Mr Tice had been the leader since 2021, but will now have a less prominent position in the party as chairman of Reform.

Mr Farage said of the decision to become leader: “Look, I’ve been doing this longer than Richard… there’s a people’s army out there that I built up over many, many years and they’re still there.

“And they’re very fond of Richard but they know me a little bit better. It’s just as simple as that.”

Asked whose decision it had been, Mr Farage told journalists: “Do you think he’s been bullied and strong-armed, I mean what are you suggesting?

“No, it’s a very silly question. Never mind.”


06:18 PM BST

How likely is Nigel Farage to win in Clacton?

The constituency of Clacton in Essex was the first to elect a UKIP MP, and will now have the chance to elect the party’s former leader, who is now the head of Reform UK.

The former Tory MP Douglas Carswell defected to join UKIP and then won the by-election there in 2014.

The seat has been held by the Tories since 2017 and has a Conservative majority of 24,702.

A poll of the constituency by Survation earlier this year found that if Nigel Farage were running for Reform, the party would beat the Tories.


05:44 PM BST

Tories express anger at party ‘incompetence’ in wake of Farage announcement

Former Conservative MPs who are seeking re-election have expressed anger at the party over its “incompetence” in handling the threat from the Right posed by Reform UK.

One former Cabinet minister said: “I can’t express how angry I am on behalf of the presenters and MPs they have thrown to the wolves by their incompetence.”

Another Tory seeking re-election said: “We should have done a deal and took the fight to Labour.”

A Conservative rebel source said: “They were warned. Their arrogance has cost them and the country hugely.”


05:34 PM BST

Watch: Farage tells voters ‘Let’s make Britain great again’

Nigel Farage has released his first video since announcing that he is the new leader of Reform and will stand to be an MP in Clacton.

He told voters: “I believe in Britain. These boring idiots that lead the Labour and Conservative parties are not worth the space.

“Let’s make Britain great again. Join me.”


05:26 PM BST

Nadine Dorries: Farage announcement is a ‘game changer’

If Boris Johnson were still leader of the Conservative Party, then Nigel Farage would not have decided to stand against the Tories at the election, Nadine Dorries has said.

The former Cabinet minister and Johnson ally said that Mr Farage’s announcement was a “game changer”.

She wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that Mr Johnson “shot Farage’s fox. He never took his eye off the threat from the right. If Johnson were still leader, Farage wouldn’t have stood [because] Reform wouldn’t have had a winnable seat.

She added: “So, to all Conservative MPs who all thought it was a good idea to remove Boris, who were warned but are now heading to the job centre queue – you’re going to have time to reflect on your actions which may have ended the very existence of the Conservative party.”


05:14 PM BST

Watch in full: Nigel Farage announces he will stand at election for Reform


05:03 PM BST

Farage tweets: ‘I’m back’


05:01 PM BST

Tory spokesman: Farage ‘doing exactly what Keir Starmer wants him to do’

Nigel Farage is “doing exactly what Keir Starmer wants him to do” by standing to be an MP for Reform UK and becoming leader of the party, a Conservative Party spokesman has said.

A spokesman for the Tories said: “Nigel Farage risks handing Keir Starmer a blank cheque to rejoin the EU, impose the Retirement Tax on pensioners and hike taxes on hardworking Brits up and down the UK.

“Farage knows that Reform won’t win any seats, but he doesn’t seem to care that a vote for Reform only helps Labour. He’s doing exactly what Keir Starmer wants him to do.

Just yesterday, EU insiders openly voiced their expectation that Starmer would seek a softer Brexit deal, opening the door to rejoining the EU all together. That would mean uncontrolled immigration and betraying the will of the British people.

Is Farage really willing to risk undoing his life’s work by handing Starmer a blank cheque to rejoin the EU?

Only a vote for Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives can deliver a clear plan, bold action and a secure future for our country.”


04:57 PM BST

Farage standing for Reform ‘bad news’ says former Tory Cabinet minister

A former Tory Cabinet minister has said that Nigel Farage standing as an MP for Reform is “bad news for both major parties, but sadly worse news for the Conservatives.”

They told The Telegraph: “This will bring new impetus to the Reform campaign. Farage is arguably the most recognisable figure in British politics apart from the Prime Minister and Boris Johnson. He is an insurgent and will attract votes.

“This is bad news for both major parties, but sadly worse news for the Conservatives.”


04:55 PM BST

There has been ‘no attempt at seduction’ from the Tories, says Farage

Nigel Farage said there had been “no attempt at seduction at all” from the Tories when asked if Reform UK had been approached about a potential electoral pact.

He said he was aiming for “this political party to become the voice of opposition in the next Parliament” which he claimed the Conservatives are “incapable” of being.

He told the conference: “There has been no attempt at seduction at all, at least not that I’ve noticed.”


04:54 PM BST

Pictured: Former Neighbours star Holly Valance and husband Nick Candy at Reform event

Nick Candy and Holly Valance at Reform UK press conferenceNick Candy and Holly Valance at Reform UK press conference

Nick Candy and Holly Valance at Reform UK press conference – Yui Mok/PA


04:49 PM BST

People are ‘very fond of Richard, but they know me a little bit better’

Nigel Farage has said that he had been “doing this longer” than Richard Tice, as he explained why he has chosen to become party leader.

He told journalists: “As I’ve said already two or three times today, there’s a people’s army out there that I built up over many, many years, and they’re still there.

“And they’re very fond of Richard, but they know me a little bit better. It’s just as simple as that.”


04:38 PM BST

Richard Tice is ‘delighted’, says Farage

Nigel Farage has insisted that Richard Tice is “delighted” about his decision to stand as an MP and to become leader of Reform UK.

Mr Tice was previously the party leader.

Asked by journalists how he came to the decision with Mr Tice, Mr Farage said: “He’s more than happy about this. He’s delighted about it actually. We’ve talked about this on and off for months.”

He added: “Do you think he’s been bullied and strong-armed or something?”


04:34 PM BST

Nigel Farage says he believes Reform UK could get more votes than the Tories

Nigel Farage has said that he believes Reform could get more votes at the election than the Conservatives.

He said: “I think there’s every chance we’ll get more votes than the Conservative Party. I genuinely do.

“And you can all hold onto that in a few weeks’ time. But I genuinely believe we can get more votes in this election than the Conservative Party. They are on the verge of total collapse.”


04:31 PM BST

Farage: ‘I can’t let those people down’

Asked why he had changed his mind about standing as an MP, Mr Farage said he “can’t back down”.

“Millions of people who would feel let down by me unless I was at the front, and leading this charge over the course of the next five and a half years. That is why I’ve changed my mind. I can’t let those people down. I won’t let those people down.

He added: “The amount of guilt I felt yesterday simply thinking about it was too much.”


04:28 PM BST

‘We will win seats’ Farage insists

Nigel Farage has insisted that Reform UK will win seats at the election, but refused to say how many.

He told the conference in London: “We will get many many more votes than the four million that you get got in 2015. Many many more votes. We will win seats. I don’t know how many.”

He added: “The crucial part of this campaign will be getting those people who are saying now they’ll vote Labour, but I suspect in many cases that’s through disgust, to vote for something they really believe in.”

Nigel Farage speaks during a press conference in LondonNigel Farage speaks during a press conference in London

Nigel Farage speaks during a press conference in London – Maja Smiejkowska/REUTERS


04:25 PM BST

Farage: ‘I intend to lead a political revolt’

Nigel Farage has said that he intends to lead a “political revolt” because “nothing in this country works anymore”.

“So the really big message here is what I’m really calling for and what I intend to lead is a political revolt. Yes, a revolt, a turning of our backs on the political status quo. It doesn’t work.

“Nothing in this country works anymore. The health service doesn’t work. The roads don’t work. None of our public services are up to scratch. We are in decline. This will only be turned around with boldness”

He added: “I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again. I will surprise everybody.”


04:22 PM BST

‘Our aim this election is to get many, many millions of votes’

Mr Farage said: “I’ll be launching my candidacy at midday tomorrow in the Essex seaside town of Clacton, so midday tomorrow Clacton at the end of the pier.”

He added: “Richard is more than happy for me to put my head and shoulders firmly over the parapet and take the flack. So I’m coming back as leader of Reform UK, but not just for this election campaign. I’m coming back for the next five years.”

He added: “So our aim in this election is to get many, many millions of votes. And I’m talking far more votes than you get got back in 2015 when we when we got four million votes. We’re going to get many, many, many more votes than that.

“How many seats in Parliament? Can we win under this system? Well, that’s another matter. And that depends on what momentum we can get from here. “


04:19 PM BST

Farage: ‘I’ve changed my mind’

Nigel Farage has announced he will stand as an MP for Reform UK.

He told a conference in London: “Now I stood here, a week ago, and I said look, hands up. I’ve been nonplussed by Rishi calling a short-term election, it doesn’t give me the time to find a constituency, doesn’t give me the time to build up data.”

“I thought the rational thing to do was not to stand but to do my bit as supporting the country, around the party, and for the last week, that is what I’ve been doing. I’ve been travelling all around the country. I’ve had the honour of appearing with Piers Morgan on Question Time amongst other things.”

He then announced: “I’ve decided I’ve changed my mind. It’s allowed you know. It’s not always a sign of weakness, it could potentially be a sign of strength.”

Honorary president of Reform UK and newly appointed leader Nigel FarageHonorary president of Reform UK and newly appointed leader Nigel Farage

Honorary president of Reform UK and newly appointed leader Nigel Farage – HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP


04:11 PM BST

Nigel Farage speaks as leader of Reform UK

Nigel Farage has told the conference: “Now we put out out operations’ notice today our ‘emergency’ election announcement. We did that because we think this election needs a bit of gingering up. Thus far, it was the dullest, most boring electoral campaign we have ever seen.”

The new leader of Reform UK said: “We know that taxes will stay high. We know that mass immigration will continue regardless of which party wins power.

“We know that people will get poorer. We also know that crime or fear of crime will get worse.”

He added: “We’re doing better than our former partners in the European Union, but we’re massively behind America and many other parts of the world. We’re in social decline and we’re actually in a form of moral decline. We’ve forgotten who we are as a country.


04:09 PM BST

BREAKING: Richard Tice announces Nigel Farage is new leader of Reform UK

Richard Tice has announced that Nigel Farage has become the new leader of Reform UK.

He told a press conference in London: “How do we turn on the rocket boosters, the turbo chargers, to this campaign?”

He added: “As people know, I wanted Nigel to be able to give as much energy and effort, commitment to this campaign, as he felt able to do.”

He then said: “I thought well actually, what I really want to do is to invite Nigel Farage to become leader of Reform UK.”


04:04 PM BST

Richard Tice: Reform is ‘going up’

The leader of Reform UK has said that the party is “going up” in the polls.

He told the conference: “We’ve been trying to create some interest in this general election campaign. And here we are. Everyone thought that Reform UK that would get squeezed out, that was the Prime Minister’s and the Tories’ strategy.”

He added: “What’s happening to the polls? We’re going down? Are we holding? No. We’re going up. Yes, totally contrary of these plans actually, we’re going up.”


03:51 PM BST

Rishi Sunak on possibility of Farage standing

Rishi Sunak said that “a vote for anyone who is not a Conservative candidate is just a vote to put Keir Starmer in No 10”, in response to speculation that Nigel Farage could stand.

Reform UK could pose an electoral threat from the Right to the Conservatives, with Richard Tice saying that the party is aiming to stand candidates in every seat at the election.

Having Mr Farage as a candidate would give Reform greater potential to do damage to the Tories in the polls on July 4.

When asked whether he fears the possibility of Mr Farage standing at the election, Mr Sunak said today: “At the end of the day on July 5th, one of two people will be prime minister, either Keir Starmer or me.

A vote for anyone who is not a Conservative candidate is just a vote to put Keir Starmer in No 10.

So if you’re someone who cares about tackling migration, both the boats and legal migration, if you’re someone who wants a more proportionate, pragmatic approach to net zero that saves people money, and if you’re someone who wants lower taxes, it’s only the Conservatives that are going to offer those things.


03:42 PM BST

What has Nigel Farage said previously about standing in this election?

The honorary president of Reform UK has on several occasions in the last few weeks ruled out standing for the party at the election.

In a statement issued shortly after Rishi Sunak called the snap election, Mr Farage said that he would help Reform in the campaign but added: “It is not the right time for me to go any further than that.”

He also expressed the desire to support Donald Trump in the US election later this year.

He later said that he had hoped to stand at the general election but expected it to be in October, and blamed the “short notice” given by Mr Sunak.

In an interview with The Sunday Times last week, he again said that he was not going to run, telling the newspaper: “I’ve said no”.


03:34 PM BST

Nigel Farage’s general election history

The honorary leader of Reform UK has stood seven times in Parliamentary elections, losing each time.

His most recent attempt saw him come second in South Thanet, Kent in 2015, when he lost to the Conservatives.

He has been more successful in European Parliament elections, successfully standing as an MEP five times.


02:25 PM BST

Richard Tice tight-lipped on Farage announcement

Reform leader Richard Tice did not give any information away ahead of Mr Farage’s press conference.

He told Talk TV: “We are looking forward to that announcement at 4pm. We are having a great campaign so far. Very energised, getting huge, huge positivity and returns. Sometimes patience is a virtue…”


02:14 PM BST

What could Farage announce?

There are a number of possible announcements Mr Farage could make.

Speculation has mounted that he will confirm he is standing for Parliament.

But he could also formally take over as leader from Mr Tice, or announce senior defections from Tories.

There are a range of other potential reveals from Mr Farage – you can read Gordon Rayner’s round-up here.


02:10 PM BST

Farage set to make ‘emergency’ announcement

Nigel Farage is set to speak at a press conference at 4pm in London.

He will appear alongside Richard Tice, the leader of Reform.

It was such a sudden announcement – made by Mr Farage on X – that most senior figures in the party were caught unawares.

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