Nigel Farage says he is running to be MP for Reform UK


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Nigel Farage will stand as a candidate for Reform UK at the July general election, despite the arch-Brexiter ruling himself out of the race less than a fortnight ago.

Farage, the right-wing party’s founder and majority owner, will contest Clacton in Essex, a seat once held by his previous UK Independence Party, he announced on Monday.

He is also set to return as leader of Reform, replacing Richard Tice.

“I am going to stand in this election,” Farage said at a press conference. “The election is over, it’s done. Labour have won, there is not a contest.”

“I’ve changed my mind. It’s allowed you know. It’s not always a sign of weakness,” he said.

The race in Clacton is Farage’s eighth attempt to be elected as an MP. He has been unsuccessful in previous campaigns.

Clacton voted 73 per cent to leave the EU in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

After Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a snap election for July 4, Farage initially said he would not run, arguing that six weeks was not enough time for him to campaign for a seat.

Farage’s decision means he will play a more prominent role in Reform’s campaign and help boost the party’s visibility, after he earlier suggested he would focus on the upcoming US election.

Reform has said it will field candidates in every seat in England, Wales and Scotland.

Although most polls forecast that Reform will not win any seats, it is expected to take Tory votes in a way that benefits Labour or the Liberal Democrats.

Hours before Reform launched its election campaign on May 23, Farage said in a statement on X that he would “do his bit” for the party but did not think it was the right time to stand. He said he planned to focus on the US election which he considered of “huge global significance”. The decision led to suggestions from commentators that Farage had “bottled it”.

Speaking earlier on Monday, Sunak said he was not worried about Farage standing as an MP. “At the end of the day on 5 July, one of two people will be prime minister, either Keir Starmer or me,” he said.

Several Tory policies announced during the campaign, including national service, have aimed to secure the support of traditional voters who may be tempted to vote for Reform.

Both Sunak and Farage have ruled out a pact in the election, preventing a repeat of 2019 where Reform decided to stand down candidates in Tory-held seats and helped Boris Johnson deliver an 80-seat majority for the Conservatives.

Additional reporting by Jonathan Vincent.



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