Nigel Farage rules out standing in the general election for the Reform United Kingdom

By Chas Geiger,political reporter

AFP Nigel FarageAFP

Reform UK founder and honorary chairman Nigel Farage has announced he will not stand in the general election.

There was speculation that reform leader Richard Tice would present him as a parliamentary candidate.

But Farage told the BBC that six weeks was “not enough time” to fight an electorate while campaigning for the party across the country.

Launching Reform’s campaign, Tice said he would field candidates in all but 20 of the UK’s 650 constituencies.

The party would contest 630 seats in England, Scotland and Wales “with no ifs or buts,” he said.

Farage said he would support Tice “100 per cent”, traveling around the country, speaking at rallies and giving interviews. “You’ll see me a lot,” she added.

Previously, in a statement published on

Tice will stand in Boston and Skegness in Lincolnshire, where Conservative MP Matt Warman won a majority of 25,621 in the 2019 general election.

“Contrary to what all the commentators say, like my good friend Lee Anderson and I, we are going to win seats,” Tice said at the party’s campaign launch in London.

He downplayed Farage’s decision, saying it would “help significantly” during the election campaign.

The GB News presenter is canceling his show on the channel for the duration to give him time to campaign.

Calling it “the immigration election”, Tice criticized high levels of net migration, “establishment pundits” and “weak politicians who have wrecked Britain”.

Rishi Sunak had “bottled it” and decided to “cut and run” by calling a summer election rather than waiting until the autumn, he argued.

He said the prime minister was “absolutely terrified” by the reform’s progress in opinion polls, “terrified by how this could end”.

He latest polls puts the party at around 11% of the national vote, ahead of the Liberal Democrats, and Reform says it will have enough candidates to contest all the seats.

Reform insists it is aimed at both Conservative and Labor voters, but evidence from the recent by-election suggests the Conservatives have the most to fear from the party, which Farage led from 2019 to 2021, when he was known as the Brexit Party.

In the last general election in 2019, he did not stand in constituencies won by the Conservatives in 2017.

US elections are “huge”

Farage had previously said he would not make an eighth attempt to become an MP at Westminster under its first-past-the-post electoral system.

in his statement, He suggested that his priority would be to help his friend, Donald Trump, return to the White House.

He said he had “thought a lot about whether I should stand in the next general election”.

“As Honorary President of Reform UK, I fully support Richard Tice’s leadership and urge voters to have confidence in him and Lee Anderson.

“As important as the general election is, the contest that will take place in the United States of America on November 5 has enormous global importance.

“A strong United States as a close ally is vital to our peace and security. I intend to help with the grassroots campaign in the United States in any way I can.

“The choice between Labor and the Conservatives is boring, and only the reformers have the radical agenda needed to end the decline in this country.”

The UK’s reform leader says Rishi Sunak “suppressed him” by calling a surprise general election in July.

Reform has been particularly critical of the Conservatives on the issues of immigration and net zero emissions.

Many Conservatives fear this could significantly dent Rishi Sunak’s hopes of returning to Downing Street. But they are likely to be relieved that Farage has decided not to take on a more prominent role, given his high public profile.

Former cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “The fact that he is not an opposition party candidate is inevitably helpful to the Conservatives.”

Asked about the Conservatives’ claim that a vote for reform was, in effect, a vote for Labour, Farage told the BBC that whichever of the two largest parties was in power “had almost no impact on the lives of ordinary people” because there were almost no policy differences between them.

“I hope that reform can be integrated into the Westminster system and become a genuine opposition vote to a Labor Party that will not have a honeymoon,” he added.

Tice took over as Reform leader when Farage decided to step away from frontline politics in 2021, following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

At the election launch, former MEP Ben Habib, candidate for Wellingborough, appeared to criticize Mr Farage’s latest decision, saying: “For any political movement to be successful, it needs a leader who is willing to keep his distance absolutely and do the fight.”

Tice had “the moral courage to not leave the place when things got difficult or when it suited him,” he added.

When asked if he was referring to Farage, Habib replied: “You interpret as you see fit. In any area of ‚Äč‚Äčlife, you have to keep your distance.”

Farage previously led the UK Independence Party from 2006 to 2009 and 2010 to 2016, and was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South East England from 1999 until the UK left the EU in 2020.

A prominent euroskeptic since the early 1990s, when he left the Conservative Party after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty that boosted European integration, he was seen as a key figure in the decision to hold the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Farage has stood unsuccessfully for the UK Parliament on seven occasions, most recently for South Thanet in Kent in the 2015 general election.

Westminster’s first-past-the-post system has repeatedly ruined his chances, while the proportional representation used for the European Parliament helped him enjoy a long career as an MEP.

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