Berliner Tageblatt - Farage says hard-right party intends to become 'real' UK opposition

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Farage says hard-right party intends to become 'real' UK opposition
Farage says hard-right party intends to become 'real' UK opposition / Photo: © AFP

Farage says hard-right party intends to become 'real' UK opposition

Brexiteer Nigel Farage said Monday that his hard-right Reform UK party intends to use next month's general election to ultimately supplant the ruling Conservatives as Britain's main opposition party.

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Farage, 60, acknowledged that his anti-immigration upstarts would not win the July 4 vote, but said it would propel them towards the next election, likely to be held in five years' time.

"This is not something with which we're going to govern the country. That's not possible in this election," said Farage as he launched his party's election pledges in Merthyr Tydfil, in south Wales.

Most polls have Reform trailing the Conservatives, but a YouGov survey last week put the fringe outfit ahead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's party for the first time.

The UK's winner-takes-all voting system favours the bigger parties, but Reform's current polling suggests it will damage the Tories by splitting the right-wing vote.

Farage claimed Reform was "running very fast to catch up" with the main parties and was increasing its support among younger voters.

"This election is for our party, and for me, the first important step on the road to 2029," said Farage, who is bidding to win a seat in the UK parliament after seven previous failed attempts.

"Our ambition is to establish a bridgehead in parliament, and to become a real opposition to a Labour government."

Farage did a deal with the Conservatives at the last general election in 2019 that saw his Brexit Party not field candidates against the Tories in many seats.

With the Brexit Party now renamed Reform UK, he has ruled out a similar agreement this time.

Farage said the Tories would not be able to provide opposition in parliament because "they spend most of their days arguing among themselves, and they're split down the middle when it comes to policy".

Reform is also stealing some voters away from the centre-left Labour party, particularly in predominantly white working-class areas, pollsters say.

The party wants to scrap net-zero energy commitments, proposes a "freeze" on net migration, and wants to look at alternative funding models for Britain's state-run National Health Service.

O.Bulka--BTB