BREAKING: Nigel Farage to take over as leader of Reform UK

He also announced that he will be standing to be an MP in Clacton

Nigel Farage announcing he has become leader of Reform

In a bizarre twist in the 2024 general election campaign, the Reform party has announced it is changing its leader less than five weeks before polling day.

In an emergency press conference, the party’s then leader Richard Tice announced that the party’s honorary president Nigel Farage would be taking over from him.

Tice told the press conference: “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 went on to add: “I thought well actually, what I really want to do is to invite Nigel Farage to become leader of Reform UK.”

After being introduced by Tice, Farage took the stage to say: “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.”

Farage then said that he will be leader of Reform for the next five years.

At the press conference, Farage also announced that he will be Reform UK’s parliamentary candidate for Clacton, the only seat that his former party UKIP won in the 2015 general election.

When the election was called, Farage had initially said that he would not be standing as a candidate. However, he told the press conference: “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 traveling all around the country.”

He then went on to say: “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.”

In the rest of his remarks, Farage made a series of comments criticising government immigration policies. Tice had opened the conference by saying that “This is and must be the immigration election”.

The news of Farage’s candidacy and ascension to the Reform UK leadership has received a cold reception from anti-racism campaigners. Nick Lowles, CEO at HOPE not hate said: “In his typical pattern of dishonesty and opportunism, Farage has left it to the last minute to announce he’s standing. He doesn’t know the area or the issues in Clacton he just wants to finally achieve his aim of being an MP. He’s lost 7 times before. HOPE not hate will make every effort to make it his 8th loss”

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

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