RICHARD Tice is to lead the Reform UK party following today’s announcement from Nigel Farage that he is stepping down and going into ‘semi-retirement’ from politics.
Nigel Farage was expected to take the rebranded Brexit Party into the next general election, but his decision, he said today, was influenced by the success and finalisation of his many decades of fighting for Brexit, and his desire to focus on family and campaigning on other issues.
Mr Farage later announced that he was “delighted to take up a position as Honorary President of Reform UK and will leave the party in the capable hands of Richard Tice.”
A successful businessman, experienced politician and political campaigner, Mr Tice has worked closely with his friend Farage and taken on perhaps the lion share in helping to build the Brexit Party, and later the Reform UK party, and garner nationwide support.
Tice was elected as a Brexit Party Member of the European Parliament for the East of England at the 2019 European Parliament election – holding this role until the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. He was a founder of the popular and influential pro-Brexit campaign groups Leave Means Leave, and Leave.EU.
Recently speaking of Tice in The Spectator, Former UKIP MEP and well-established Brexit campaigner, Patrick O’Flynn, wrote of Tice’s potential to take the party more mainstream:
“If Farage decides that another stint of full-time political leadership is not for him after all, especially given potential lucrative alternative avenues in the media, friends of Tice say he has got the taste for politics now and will be ready to step up and take it forward himself.
“And that should really worry the Tories. Because while Farage’s charisma was crucial in attracting the support of a sizable wedge of the Ukip and Brexit Party electorate, it was accompanied by a ‘Marmite’ quality that put off many others. There is no hint of this with Tice, a debonair smoothy who performs well on television and projects a personality that is likely to prove highly attractive to middle-class shire Tories feeling the onset of mid-term blues.
“Ultimately the pool of voters who would at least give a Tice outfit a look is potentially even wider than the one that would back Farage at the drop of a hat.”
Mr Tice has not yet commented publicly on today’s announcement.