Reform UK Tries For More Tory Defections

Reform UK has launched another push to persuade Tory councillors to defect. An email passed to Guido shows that Reform’s Head of Local Government Alex Wilson – a former Tory councillor himself – said “We’d love you to join us at Reform UK”, acknowledging that “it’s a big step to leave [the Conservatives], and it’s not a decision you can take lightly.”

The email accuses the government of being impossible to differentiate from the Labour opposition:

“Many are saying the Conservative Party no longer represents true conservative values – in fact it’s almost impossible to see much difference between the current Government and the Labour opposition. Both parties are pushing higher taxes on workers and businesses, both follow the Net Zero orthodoxy that’s contributed so much to the current energy crisis, and both have failed to protect our borders against the wave of illegal immigration that will put so much pressure on the local services your Council has to deliver.”

The party has managed to pick up a handful of defectors, with two Tory councillors joining in December and another in Sunderland crossing the floor on the 20th January. Will the latest push cause more headaches for the Tories?

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Tory MP Defection Talks with Reform UK Occurred Before PM Rishi

Tory MPs in talks with Richard Tice and Nigel Farage’s party to defect have been ongoing for many weeks, Guido understands.

Contrary to suggestions in an i exclusive on Monday, discussions occurred well before Liz Truss become PM, and weren’t necessarily sparked by Rishi Sunak’s ascension to No. 10. Guido’s not sure whether this will reassure or worry Rishi…

Two days ago, The i reported that Red Wall MPs are “being courted by the Reform Party as it seeks a wave of Ukip-style defections among dissatisfied Tories,” Tice told the paper:

“I think it’s fair to say, without saying too much, that there’s some very disaffected ‘Red Wall’, industrial heartland, Tory MPs who thought they were joining a Conservative Party and have found themselves in a socialist party. They’re very, very unhappy.”

Guido understands a handful are responding positively, given the ongoing migrant crisis and failures by the Government. If Farage does return to the fray, and the Government fails to address the migrant crisis effectively, Rishi could be facing a major headache.

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Farage Promises to Take “Active Role” to Prevent Brexit Betrayal

Comeback King Nigel Farage has again hinted at yet another return to the frontline of British politics. Last night, the inboxes of Reform UK supporters were hit with a bulletin from Mr Brexit, in which he says whether he takes a more active role in UK politics “will depend on the extent of the betrayal of Brexit”. He adds:

“I didn’t spend 25 years of my life battling to secure a seemingly hopeless cause only to watch Jeremy Hunt give it away”

Nigel’s intervention comes amid an uptick in Reform UK’s fortunes. The party is gaining in the polls, is taking members from the Conservatives and plans to stand a full slate of candidates at the next election. With news of record immigration and potential Brexit betrayal, the tide may be running in Nigel’s favour…

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Reform UK Sound Out Conservative Defectors

Reform UK is stepping up their charge on the Conservative party, by targeting elected defectors. A co-conspirator has been in touch to share a Reform party mail-out, sent en masse to Conservative councillors asking them to “put country before party” and abandon ship. They’ve even set up a helpline.

Guido called the number, where Reform claimed there had been “quite a bit of interest” and said any Tory defectors would be “front of the queue” for selection to a parliamentary constituency. Loyal Reform candidates might not be so pleased…

It comes as the party continues to make gains in membership as they see near unprecedented highs in recent polls. A Reform source says “many thousand” Tories have paid up. They estimate they’ve taken 5-10% of Tory Members.

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Farage Hints at Political Return as Reform Membership Surges

Reform UK have been quick to capitalise on the growing dissatisfaction amongst Tory Members over the coronation of Rishi Sunak. The party has gained over 1,056 members in the past 36 hours in addition to 6-figure donations over the last week. It also boasts over 500 vetted candidates and claims to be election-ready. Quite the headache for the new Prime Minister…

Guido spoke to Reform’s founder and sole shareholder Nigel Farage. When asked if he would step in and help lead the party, he responded:

“That’s the great mystery. All options are open”

Watch that space…

Even without one of the most successful political campaigners of recent British history as an opponent, Rishi faces significant internal problems. The Prime Minister was far from the favourite of Tory grassroots supporters and they’re not letting the absence of a contest prevent their grievances being heard. Not least in Guido’s inbox.

There was yet more evidence of a membership mass exodus as the page for membership cancellation on the Conservatives’ website went down due to high traffic yesterday. One fiery activist was especially keen to convey their discontent to Guido, even going so far as to tape a piece of paper to a rusty bin. Co-conspirators are clearly harbouring some burning resentment…

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Reform UK’s Membership Boom as Party Capitalises on Truss’s Woes

As the Tories languish 30 points behind Labour, and Tory MPs mull snubbing party members of their right to choose a replacement PM, we can only assume how bad things would be for the party were Nigel Farage still on the scene as a prominent political force. In the meantime Reform UK boxes on, with Richard Tice recently announcing his intention to fight for Hartlepool at the next election.

Guido can reveal that in the 48 hours before close of play yesterday afternoon, the old Brexit Party received almost 1000 new £25 membership sign-ups. That new five-figure cash boost was joined by 300 members registering a new interest in standing as a party candidate at the next election. The first time the Tories dipped below Labour in the polls – September 2021 – Reform saw one in 10 Tory voters switching to them. Can they continue capitalising on Liz’s woes?

A Reform UK source tells Guido:

“Since Saturday evening the systems have lit up like Blackpool lights.

In the Red Wall, Reform are polling equal to the Lib Dems and Greens combined. And that’s without media coverage.

Who knows what might happen if the fourth estate raised their eyes from the Westminster hall of mirrors?”

It’s not just Reform benefitting from the dire state of No. 10. Last night the LibDems revealed five new donors, each giving £50,000 to the party, one of whom is a former Tory donor. While the last 36 hours have been calmer for Truss, it does feel like the ship has sprung one too many leaks to be repaired by a strong PMQs performance…

mdi-timer 19 October 2022 @ 08:47 19 Oct 2022 @ 08:47 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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