Nigel Farage’s right-wing Reform UK party shocks with significant gains expected

In Europe

Reform Party leader Nigel Farage poses in a boxing ring on July 3, 2024 in Clacton-on-Sea, England.

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images

One of the biggest surprises of Britain’s election night so far has been the gains seen by the right-wing Reform UK party, which is forecast to win numerous parliamentary seats and has logged a strong showing in early results.

Exit polls indicate that the populist party led by Brexiteer Nigel Farage is set to win 13 seats in the U.K.’s parliament, an unexpectedly large number given it failed to secure any in the 2019 general election. Its first parliamentary seat was confirmed in the early hours, with Lee Anderson taking the Ashfield constituency from the Conservatives.

Early results also pointed toward strong gains. Of 650 constituencies, 43 had been called as of 2:26 a.m. London time with Reform in third place with 20% of the vote, just behind the Conservatives on 20.2%.

In a video posted on X titled: “The revolt against the establishment is underway,” Farage said the gains his party has seen so far are “almost unbelievable.”

“What does it mean? It means we’re going to win seats, many, many seats,” he said. “Mainstream media are in denial, just as much as our political parties. This is going to be 6 million votes plus. This vote is huge.”

Reform UK, which has a hardline stance on immigration, was born out of the Brexit Party. The latter was founded by Nigel Farage and focused on calling for a “no-deal Brexit” between 2016 and 2021; after the completion of the Brexit process, it campaigned on issues such as opposition to Covid lockdowns.

Farage, who has served in the European Union parliament but repeatedly failed to win a seat in the U.K. legislature, stepped down as party leader in March 2021. After previously stating he would not stand as an MP in 2024 in order to focus on supporting Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential campaign, he reversed course in June and said he would both stand and resume his role as Reform UK leader.

Numerous analysts argued that the return of the well-known figure would boost the party at the expense of the Conservatives.

David Bull, co-deputy leader of Reform UK, told the BBC overnight that pollsters had underestimated the party’s support, as they had with the number of people who would back a Brexit vote.

“I think what you’re seeing is actually the shy Reformers coming out in droves. We saw this with Brexit didn’t we, the shy Brexiteers, so the pollsters were caught off-guard and once again they’ve been caught off guard,” Bull said. “If that is true and we win 13 seats that is extraordinary.”

A “shy” voter refers to someone who does not reveal in polls which way they will eventually vote.

Exit polls indicate that Farage will — after seven prior failed attempts — win a parliamentary seat in this election.

Read More: Nigel Farage’s right-wing Reform UK party shocks with significant gains expected

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