REFORM UK’s leader, Richard Tice, has said that Brexit has been betrayed and that Boris Johnson is the ‘author of his own downfall’ – while his party is seeing an increase in membership from disgruntled former Conservative supporters. But he doesn’t appear to have ruled out working with Boris Johnson.
Recently described in the Financial Times as casting ‘a disproportionate shadow over British politics’, Reform UK has become the focus of disillusioned Tories, but also of the media and political commentators who are suggesting a potential alliance between Farage, Tice, and recently-resigned Boris Johnson.
Speaking to VoteWatch, Tice, himself an ardent Brexiteer and successful businessman, said that whilst the UK has “technically” left the European Union, “the opportunity is still great, but the Tories have failed to take advantage.”
“It has been betrayed so far: They have not taken control of money laws nor borders, and have indeed done the opposite to what people expected and hoped for.”
Asked what he realistically believes his party’s chances are of future electoral success and what his party would do differently to the status quo, Tice said: “We have to change the NI Protocol, the fishing arrangements and ease the border checks on our own side for incoming goods. We must be stronger on other future negotiations.”
“The gap between Westminster, the media and the people has never been wider; we stand in every seat in Eng Scot Wales, some will be strong target seats and anything can happen.
“The Tories have become Consocialists: high tax, low growth open borders.
“If you believe in Brexit & that we should be a low tax high growth smartly regulated nation that is strong on law order and secure borders then Reform UK are the only party now that you can vote for.”
Mr Tice told VoteWatch that Reform would seek to change the electoral system to make it fairer, including ditching the ‘first past the post’ election system that favours the two large parties, Conservative and Labour, and install proportional representation and “using the Additional Member system
already used in Scotland and Wales.”
The additional member system (AMS) is a mixed electoral system under which most representatives are elected in single-member districts (SMDs), and the other “additional members” are elected to make the seat distribution in the chamber more proportional to the way votes are cast for party lists.
Lamenting Britain’s weak justice system, he said: “The system must act swiftly and strictly to ensure that it is a deterrent to lawbreakers. Longer sentences, no early release.”
Meanwhile, in recent days various news outlets have hinted at, or at least called for, a potential alliance between Tice, Farage, and Boris Johnson, who recently resigned as a Member of Parliament over the ‘Partygate Inquiry’ and what he described as a ‘kangaroo court’.
“[Boris] is the author of his own downfall after a huge wasted opportunity to transform the country and be a 10 yr historic PM,” Tice said.
However, he doesn’t completely rule out working with the popular former PM.
The rumour mill has been working overtime since Johnson’s resignation, particularly since Farage and Tice were snapped having lunch with Georgia Toffolo, a friend of Boris Johnson’s father, and after Farage himself confirmed on GB News that “people close” to Johnson had been approached to discuss a potential alliance.
This week alone, numerous mainstream newspapers have weighed in on the possibility, with the Daily Express printing the headline “Boris, Farage, and Tice an electoral dream ticket?”, and The Sun running with “Could a Reformed Boris Johnson Lead Nigel Farage’s Reform Party or is it Just Fantasy Politics?”.
But after putting the question to Tice, the politician gave a short reply: “People like to create rumours and conspiracy theories.”
He further stressed during an interview with Piers Morgan that, on some issues, his views and Mr Johnson’s were “fundamentally different”.
Yet Tice didn’t flat-out say that the rumours, however unlikely, were untrue, and when asked if he’d consider working with Boris to challenge Sunak’s government, Mr Tice said that, “anyone we would work with must believe in our stance on Brexit, immigration and Net Zero,” before adding that, as the Tory party continues to implode under bitter infighting, his own party has grown “hugely… and we are only just warming up!”