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By Ben Guerin
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Nigel Farage To Run For Parliament As Reform UK Leader

Nigel Farage will run for Parliament as leader of Reform UK (Alamy)

4 min read

Nigel Farage has announced he has taken over as Reform leader and will run as a candidate at the 4 July general election.

Farage at a press conference in London on Monday said he had agreed to take over the role of leader from Richard Tice, who had been the right-wing party's leader since its formation in 2021.

Farage then said he would run as a candidate in Clacton, which according to recent polling he is in a strong position to win. The seat is being defended by Conservative candidate Giles Watling.

Farage, the former UKIP leader, had previously ruled out standing at next month's general election after he claimed six weeks was not enough time for him to campaign and win a seat. 

However, he said today he felt he would be letting "millions" of voters down if he did not change his mind and run to win a House of Commons seat.

"I can't let down those millions of people. I simply can't do it. It'd be wrong. So I have decided I've changed my mind.

"It's not always a sign of weakness. It could potentially be a sign of strength. So I am going to stand in this election. I'll be launching my candidacy at midday tomorrow in the Essex seaside town of Clacton."

Farage said he was leading a "political revolt" against the Westminster system. "Something is happening out there," said the new Reform leader.

Reform's polling has steadily improved in recent months under the leadership of Tice, and Farage's announcement on Monday will further fuel concern among Conservative candidates that they face a heavy defeat on 4 July.

A YouGov survey published on Monday said Labour was on course for a 194-seat majority — which would be bigger than what former Labour prime minister Tony Blair achieved at his 1997 general election landslide. A separate MRP poll conducted by More in Common showed Labour was heading for a smaller, but still sizeable, parliamentary majority of 114 seats. A new poll by Redfield & Wilton gave Labour an increased lead over the Tories of 26 per cent.

The fear among Tory figures is that a Reform boosted by Farage's return will make the uphill task facing the Conservatives in avoiding defeat to Labour at this general election even tougher by taking votes away from them in seats nationwide.

Farage said today he believed Reform UK would win more than four million votes at the general election, beating the the number of votes UKIP received in 2015 when he was leader. 

"We're gonna get many, many more votes than that," he said, referring to the four million figure. "How many seats in Parliament will we get under the current system? Well, that's another matter. That depends on what momentum we can get from here."

Farage said he believed the Conservative Party would be crushed at the election under Sunak and said the election was a foregone conclusion, with Labour highly likely to win a majority.

He also categorically ruled out striking an electoral pact with the Tories, telling reporters: "Not on your nelly." His decision in 2019 to stand down Brexit Party candidates in some seats played a significant part in former Tory prime minister Boris Johnson's 80-seaty majority.

"Believe me, this Conservative Party under Rishi Sunak, which no one ever voted for, not even the party members voted for, needs no help by me in being crushed. It's crushed itself already," Farage said.

"Keir Starmer, yes he will win. But we're absolutely going to make sure his percentage is a lot smaller than it is now."

Farage has stood as a parliamentary candidate seven times and failed to win a seat, but he has stood and been elected as a member of the European Parliament five times. The Reform UK President came closest to winning a seat in Parliament in 2015 when he lost to Conservative candidate Craig Mackinlay in South Thanet.

Farage has made his decision to stand four days until the deadline for each party selecting its parliamentary candidates closes.

UKIP won a by-election in Clacton in 2014 before winning its only eat in the 2015 campaign. Douglas Carswell, a former Tory MP, and a fierce critic of Farage, held on to it by a majority of more than 3,000 votes.

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