Richard Tice hails ‘defining moment’ for Reform UK after best-ever by-election results

Reform UK leader Richard Tice has hailed a “defining moment” for his party after it secured its best-ever by-election results in Wellingborough and Kingswood. 

The party scored double-digit vote shares in both constituencies, matching the levels it has been polling nationally after months of underperforming at by-elections and the local elections last year. 

Tice told the Telegraph that the twin victories prove his party is a “significant force” in UK politics.

Reform UK secured over 10 per cent of the vote in Kingswood, and performed even more strongly in Wellingborough, winning 13 per cent of the electorate.

Tice told the Telegraph newspaper: “It’s a defining moment – we’ve had our best two results without question. It shows we are a significant force now in British politics and that people have got to take us seriously.

“We’re delighted, we’re the party on the up and it’s quite clear that more and more people are looking for something different.”

He added: “I’ll be unveiling our election contract which will be setting out how we need to reorganise, manage and run the UK economy and nation.

“You can’t grow an economy with the burdens of record high taxes, record high wasteful government spending, nanny state regulations, mass low skilled immigration and the multi-trillion cost of net zero.

“You’ve just got to cut the vast, obscene levels of government spending which have just soared, and productivity has collapsed which means there’s massive amounts of waste.”

Professor Sir John Curtice, the leading pollster, suggested the results will prove a major worry for Conservative electoral strategists. He told the BBC: “Reform UK have now entered the electoral battle in a serious way and that potentially adds to the Conservatives’ difficulties so far as their chances of hanging on to seats at the next general election.

“Finally we are seeing Reform performing in by-elections in a way that they’re doing in opinion polls.”

The results come after a poll this week found that one in five 2019 Conservative voters now plan on voting for Reform UK. 

According to research from consultancy WPI, 19 per cent of those polled said they intend to back Reform — representing an increase on similar polling in December, when 15 per cent voiced support for the party.

The polling found just 37 per cent of 2019 Conservative voters say they would definitely vote for prime minister Rishi Sunak if there were an election tomorrow.

22 per cent said they had not made up their minds yet.

Richard Tice is expected to address a gathering of Reform members in Doncaster next Saturday where he will outline the party’s political platform going into the next election. is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.