Shropshire Star

Tice claims Sunak ‘absolutely terrified’ of threat posed by Reform UK

Richard Tice said the party will be standing in 630 seats across England, Scotland and Wales.

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Leader of Reform UK Richard Tice

Rishi Sunak decided to “cut and run” by calling a summer election because he was scared of the threat from Reform UK, Richard Tice has claimed.

The Reform UK leader said the Prime Minister had “bottled it” by calling a summer election instead of holding on for the autumn.

At the launch of Reform’s campaign, Mr Tice said the Prime Minister was “absolutely terrified” by his party’s upward progress in the polls at a time when the Tories have slumped.

“He was terrified as to where this may end up,” Mr Tice said.

Reform is averaging around 11% in the polls, ahead of the Liberal Democrats.

Opinion poll tracker
(PA Graphics)

The party will stand in 630 seats across England, Scotland and Wales “no ifs, not buts”, Mr Tice said.

But Reform UK’s highest-profile figure Nigel Farage, the honorary president, will not be standing, opting instead to focus on Donald Trump’s campaign in the US.

Mr Tice insisted Mr Farage “will be helping out significantly” during the general election campaign.

The party leader, who is standing in the Boston and Skegness constituency, said: “Contrary to what all the commentators say, the likes of my good friend Lee Anderson and myself, we are going to win seats.”

During his speech Mr Tice hit out at high levels of net migration, establishment “experts” and the “weak, feeble politicians who have broken Britain”.

The launch came as official data indicated net migration levels are estimated to have stood at 685,000 in 2023, down on 2022’s record but still high by historic standards.

Former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe told the Reform UK event: “The crucial issue in this forthcoming General Election is going to be immigration, and the impact that it is having.”

Estimated long-term net migration to the UK
(PA Graphics)

She added: “Having been in the Home Office, and having been admittedly a long time ago immigration minister, I know very well that immigration has a tremendous impact on the country. There is no such thing as an economic movement which doesn’t impact right across the scale.”

She said it had an impact on the health service, housing, and infrastructure, adding: “That is what we are now facing, and that is why uncontrolled immigration is at the root of so much that is going wrong.”

High-profile Conservative figures including Lord Cameron, Boris Johnson and James Cleverly featured in a campaign video played after her speech, which blamed the Tories for not fulfilling their promises on migration.

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