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Nigel Farage: Voting Tory is a waste

NIGEL FARAGE has declared that voting for the Conservative Party is a “wasted vote” as he outlined Reform UK’s election campaign agenda in Dover.

The Reform UK honorary president, who has chosen not to stand as an MP, launched the party’s campaign at a yacht club on the Kent seafront, which he described as the “frontline of the great national debate on immigration”.

Addressing the press and supporters, Mr Farage stated that the Tories have “wrecked it for themselves” and dismissed the Conservative argument that a vote for Reform UK equates to a vote for Labour.

The former UKIP leader said: “This election is a foregone conclusion. Labour are going to win and they’re going to win quite big. And therefore you could argue, actually, that a vote for the Conservative Party is a wasted vote. And given that, you know, Labour are going to win, why not vote for something that you actually believe in?”

Mr Farage explained that he changed the party’s name from Brexit Party to Reform UK because the party is not seeking a “quick hit” but aims to “build a base” and “launch a serious assault” in the next general election in 2028 or 2029.

Speaking to the PA news agency, he ruled out any electoral pacts or coalition agreements, adding: “This is now a six-year plan. This is our first big election. It’s the place to try to spearhead into Parliament. We’re building a campaign for the 2029 general election. We are here to be the voice of opposition.”

Mr Farage, who has unsuccessfully stood as a UKIP candidate in five general elections and two by-elections, described illegal immigration to the UK as a “national security emergency”.

He said: “I think what we ought to be doing with this situation here is declaring a national security emergency and this is an emergency. I talked over the course of the weekend to Trevor Phillips about the small but worryingly growing number of young men, predominantly young men in this country, adopting radical views, views that aren’t just un-British, but views that frankly are extremely anti-British.”

Following his interview on Sky’s Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, Mr Farage faced accusations of using “incendiary rhetoric”. When asked about his comments in Dover, he responded: “I’ve always been prepared to put my head up and talk about things that other people would rather brush under the carpet.”

On integration, he expressed pride in the UK having the “best levels” of integration in Europe in the post-war period but added regarding net migration: “The thing is out of control.”

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Mr Farage took photos with supporters, a pint of beer in hand, after his campaign speech.

The launch, which also announced Howard Cox as Reform’s Dover candidate, coincides with Dover MP Natalie Elphicke’s defection from the Conservatives to Labour, as she will not be standing in the next election.

Dover and Deal Conservative Association chairman Keith Single has said “don’t write us off” as the process of selecting a new Tory candidate takes place. Labour has confirmed its existing candidate, Mike Tapp, will stand in Dover. Ms Elphicke increased the Conservatives’ majority to 12,278 in the 2019 election.