Brexit Party changes name to Reform UK

Nigel Farage (third from right) visiting Donald Trump in happier times at Trump Tower soon after the President’s election victory in 2016, together with Raheem Kassam, Arron Banks, and colleagues from UKIP and Breitbart

Having received approval from the Electoral Commission, the Brexit Party has changed its name to Reform UK.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage founded the Brexit Party in 2019 to contest the European Parliamentary elections at a time when it seemed possible the 2016 referendum result might be overturned or diluted.

Having won 29 European seats in that election, the party collapsed six months later when having selected almost 600 parliamentary candidates Farage agreed to withdraw from more than half of these contests in order to give Boris Johnson’s Conservatives a clear run.

This morning Farage and Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice have written to members and supporters explaining the change. In their email (seen by H&D) they write:

“We must reform our approach to Covid, the House of Lords, the Civil Service and the BBC. We need to campaign hard on reforming the voting system and critically, we must reform the economy so that it incentivises the self-employed, entrepreneurs and small businesses. Faster growth for all will be achieved by reforming our taxes, unnecessary regulation and wasteful government spending.”

This makes fairly clear that unlike UKIP, or the 2016 referendum campaign, or the Brexit Party itself, which sought to be ‘all things to all men’, the new party’s pitch is radically neo-Thatcherite, US-style libertarian.

One problem is that (with the exception of electoral reform, which Farage is promoting for self-interested reasons, as would most small parties) this pitch is similar to one wing of Boris Johnson’s cabinet – the likes of Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss.

Another problem is that such ‘free market’ policies would (at least in the short term) be a disaster for many of the ‘left behind’ areas of England that voted for Brexit.

The ‘Movement News’ section in the new Issue 100 of H&D being printed today includes an update on the new Reform Party, its antecedents and competitors in post-Brexit, post-Covid Britain.

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