Tories ditch party for Reform UK as loyal members sicken of party’s ‘abhorrent’ backbiting | Politics | News

January 29, 2024
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Fed-up Tory councillors have explained why they are ditching the Party in favour of Reform UK – with one explaining he was sick of the “abhorrent” backbiting and infighting.

Another accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of failing to address issues of concern to British voters – and suggested the political outfit led by Richard Tice was the natural successor to Margaret Thatcher’s triple-election-winning Conservatives.

Reform UK, which is in effect the successor to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, hit 13 percent in a poll published by YouGov last week – its highest-ever total.

David White is planning to stand for Reform in the new constituency of Barnsley East when Mr Sunak does eventually go to the country, almost certainly later this year.

Speaking of the man who led the Tories to an 80-seat majority in 2019, he told The Daily Telegraph Boris Johnson was “an excellent campaigner” who had nevertheless “absolutely squandered” his victory and was “not the quality leader that people expected”.

Mr White continued: “The infighting has been abhorrent, comical, and Liz Truss was the final straw.

“The backbiting and infighting to get Rishi Sunak elected was absolutely shocking. Every time I went into the town hall I was ridiculed by the Labour members, and rightly so.

“Reform is where the Conservatives were in the mid-80s. The Tories have not addressed fundamental issues that concern people. There’s the cost of living crisis, the illegal immigration they witness on a daily basis at hotels.”

Robert Bromley, elected a Tory councillor in Runnymede in Surrey in 2021, echoed the sentiment.

He said: “I’m not very happy with the infighting. I think Rishi’s a nice guy but he’s in the wrong job.”

Mr Bromley, who is in talks over standing as a candidate in the election, added: “Migration is probably the main thing – Richard Tice comes across as saying the right things, and that’s why I resigned my membership from the Conservatives and joined Reform.”

Mark Hoath, 55, who is Reform’s candidate for Sutton Coldfield has set his sights on unseating incumbent Tory Andrew Mitchell, the international development minister.

Chairman of Mr Mitchell’s Tory association until 2015, when he resigned over Brexit, he now sees his former colleague, a leading One Nation Conservative, as “acting more like a Lib Dem”.

He added: “If you look at our town centre now, it’s not a shadow of what it used to be and that’s all been under his watch.

“And when you see the fiasco with virtually everything that he tries to do, there’s not a chance I would ever consider voting for Rishi Sunak.”

Highlighting the immigration concerns, Hme Office figures show more than 1,000 migrants have arrived in the UK so far this year after crossing the Channel.

In excess of 300 people made the journey at the weekend, with 112 recorded in two boats on Saturday and 276 on Sunday in five boats.

This takes the provisional total for 2024 to date to 1,057.

The highest number to cross in a single day so far this year was 358 in eight boats on January 17.

The crossings come as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is braced for another battle in Parliament over his bid to revive the Government’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda, which has been stalled by legal challenges.

In the House of Lords, 71 peers are expected to speak at the second reading debate of the proposed Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill on Monday.

Prominent critics include Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who has voiced profound concerns about the deportation scheme which will see asylum seekers who cross the Channel put on a one-way flight to the east African country’s capital, Kigali.



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