Ben Habib on Reform UK’s Best By Election Results So Far

On the 15th February Reform UK achieved two superb by election results in Wellingborough and Kingswood.

By Election Results Video Transcript:

Labour’s overnight victories in Kingswood and Wellingborough are a headache for the Conservative government. But, another growing threat to the Tories is Reform UK the Party founded by Nigel Farage that could split the conservative vote at the next general election.

Last night they won 13% of the votes in Wellingborough not far off the Conservatives vote share of 24% and they also did very well in Kingswood on about 11%. So, joining us now is reform UK Deputy Leader Ben Habib. Good to speak to you this morning, you must be hugely pleased at the success of your share and the amount of votes you’ve got, but is the unfortunate message possibly from your perspective that if Conservative voters vote for you they get Labour because you split the right wing vote?

Conservatives are no longer conservative

Well, the presumption in your question is that we’re some kind of parallel party to the Conservative Party and Reform UK isn’t that. You know, the Conservative Party actually is no longer conservative. They don’t stand for lower taxation, less regulation, less State intervention. They are none of that. You look at their 14 years record, national debt at a record high, taxation at a record high, GDP now shrinking, GDP per capita shrinking even faster because of the rampant migration that we’ve had into the United Kingdom over the last few years.

These are all the symptoms of a protracted Labour government. The Tory Party is no longer conservative, the only small C conservative Party that there is is Reform UK. I don’t accept the suggestion that the Tory vote is the only way, we are the only conservative vote. But you weren’t though because you didn’t win. You came third and because the vote was split Labour got in, so what if you’re not a parallel party to the Conservatives. What you are, you a Party that’s trying to pressure Rishi Sunak to go more right wing in line with what you’ve just described.

Reform UK are not the Tories Conscience

No, no we are not a weather vain for the Conservative Party. We are not its centre right conscience. Reform UK are an independent Party with our own policies wishing to do a 180 degree about turn on the policies that the country is now being governed by. We see the country facing an existential threat economically, politically, socially and indeed constitutionally with a border down the Irish Sea, separating Great Britain from Northern Ireland. We want to reverse all of that.

Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Parliamentary Party does not stand for any of that which we stand for. We are an entirely different electoral proposition. Reform will be standing in every seat in Great Britain to give the people a genuine alternative. The two questions I’ve put though, has led to you criticising the Conservative party. It’s Labour that won this seat and doesn’t that just bring us back to the same argument that in attacking the Conservative Party, Labour have more chance of winning or are you not bothered about that?

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Will a Reform Vote let Labour win?

No, not at all. No, it’s not about that, it’s about having a genuine small C conservative option on the ticket at the general election. We don’t have that at the moment. This country needs a change of direction. Of course I’m going to criticise the Conservative government. They’ve been in office for 14 years and they’ve delivered us to the precipice of disaster, they have to go.

Reform UK is on the on the rise with the recent by election results, you know the last by-elections in Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire our best result was 5% of the vote. Yesterday we got, rather early this morning, 10% and 13%. I got 13%, nearly treble of what we got last time. Our trajectory for by election results is on the up, the Conservative trajectory is on the down.

Labour didn’t gain voters

The Conservative Party has lost its way completely. The Labour Party by the the way hasn’t done as well as the commentator who was on before me was saying. They held their vote in Wellingborough, that’s all they did, they held their vote. It’s the Conservative vote that’s collapsed and it’s the Conservative vote those people who believe in the things that Reform UK does who are going to come and vote for Reform UK.

Wait a minute, when you say they held their vote, it’s the biggest swing to labor since 1994. The 2019 vote for Labour was 13,000 and the vote this morning was 13,000. Admittedly on a lower turnout, but they’ve actually didn’t dramatically increase their share. What’s happened here is a collapse in the Conservative vote.

Disaffected voters who have nothing to vote for in their eyes. Our challenge at Reform UK is to make ourselves known. The campaign in Wellingborough by the way from a national perspective has been fantastic for Reform UK. We’ve been able to lay out our offer you know, dramatically over the last four weeks and we’ve done well. I fought a four-week campaign and in four weeks we’ve gone to 13% of the vote, that’s fantastic.

Reform UK Policy Release Date

Ben Habib, let’s talk about some of the things that really matter to the voters out there. As you all know and one of the big things is NHS waiting list. We’re hearing today that GPs are saying you know it’s going to have to be a 4-week waiting list, waiting time to get an appointment with a GP. I went on your website the Reform UK website, you are saying that you’re going to get zero waiting lists.

Zero, how are you going to do that? Well, we have policies, I don’t want to steal our thunder, we’re going to announce our policy on the NHS on the 24th of February in Doncaster we’ve got some radical ideas which have completely escaped the two legacy parties and we will reform the way the NHS operates. We’ll do it without praying. But, you’ve just told us how great the Reform Party is, how much change you’re going to be, but how different are you to the Conservatives? How is this time for Reform UK?

Reform UK policy announcements on 24th February 2024

I asked you one simple question, what is your policy on waiting lists and you can’t give it. You’ve got millions watching at home. I mean you could tell them now. I literally just told you that we’re going to announce our policy on the 24th of February. We have a contract with the people that’s coming. It’s going to be published on the 24th of February. It wouldn’t be fair to the executive in the Party if without having consulted with them I suddenly blurted out our specific policy points.

There’s some suggestion that you have a thing that if after 3 weeks you haven’t got an appointment you’ll get a voucher to go private is that true? We’ve got much more than that, much more than that. The concern would be if you’re relying on the private sector as a sort of buffer as a sort of well, if you can’t get private isn’t that just promoting the private sector?

We’re not relying on the private sector per se, you’ll just have to wait till the 24th of February. But the fact is one of the reasons the 24th, because I guess what people need is some meat on the bone. Isn’t it that you haven’t got any MPs? I can give you a share of vote, so you can promise anything at this point so we’ll have to wait to see I guess.

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Reform UK tax policy to help the lowest paid

What the meat on the bone is, that there are policies about which I can tell you which you may be interested in hearing about such as for example increasing the Threshold at which income tax is paid from 12,500 to 20,000 per annum that would take 6 million people out of the tax net.

The reason we’ve got 6 million people coincidentally the same figure surviving to a greater or less extent on benefits is because it doesn’t pay to work in the UK. The Conservative government has taxed the population so highly that actually it’s more economical for them to stay at home and not come out to work.

We’ve got to get people back into work. If people go back into work the economy will grow. If the economy grows, then excise will collect more money. If  excise collects more money low and behold, they can actually spend more money on the NHS.

Another policy that Reform UK has is to lower taxation on small businesses and businesses generally why did Rishi Sunak increase the corporation tax rate from 19% to 25% making the United Kingdom uncompetitive on a global basis? It’s absolutely daft economics. The man casts himself as a bureaucratic technocrat he hasn’t got a clue. Okay, well we’re going to speak to Richard Holden the person who’s Conservative Party Chairman at the moment who has the unenviable task of responding to some of those points and we’ll put them to him good to speak to you this morning thank you very much Ben Habib from the Reform Party.

On February 15th Reform UK achieved their best by election results to date with 10% and 13% in Kingswood and Wellingborough respectively.