Essex Tory candidate claims Reform UK voters 'don't know what they're voting for'

Kemi Badenoch urges voters not to stray from Conservative to Reform UK
-Credit: (Image: PA)

Business Secretary and Conservative candidate for North West Essex, Kemi Badenoch, has said prospective Reform UK voters are “good people” who “don’t know who they’re voting for” as she addressed former Tory voters less than a week before the General Election.

Kemi, who was previously the Conservative MP for Saffron Walden, is running for re-election in the redrawn North West Essex seat, told The Times she still believed the Tories could win the election but it was “going to be a hell of a fight”.

She said: “What I am asking those people who are Reform voters, or considering voting Reform, is that you are good people, I know that you feel some disappointment with our party, but don’t let these people who claim to be like you get in. They are not like you all. They are a totally different thing.”

READ MORE: Reform campaigner in Clacton called for Channel migrants to be used as ‘target practice’ and uses racial slur against Rishi Sunak

READ MORE: Voter slams 'disgusting' error as General Election postal votes in Essex sent out late

Continuing, Kemi stated: “I really want Reform voters to know that we’ve heard you. We understand. But you need to come back to the Conservative Party.”

She also warned that Reform candidates were “not fit” to make important political decisions and told Tories they should not allow its leader Nigel Farage to join their ranks.

It comes as the latest YouGov poll put Nigel’s party only one percentage point below the Conservatives, who polled at 18% to Labour’s 36%.

Speaking on Nigel Farage, Clacton’s New Reform candidate, Kemi added that Nigel did not care about allegations of misogyny and racism in his party as it was “all a big show for him”.

Footage from a Channel 4 undercover investigation, released on Thursday, showed Reform campaigner Andrew Parker using a racist term about Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and suggesting migrants should be used as “target practice”.

During his stint on Question Time on Friday, Nigel repeated claims that Andrew is an actor and he described the exposé as “a political set-up of astonishing proportions.” He added he was “not going to apologise” as what had happened was a “set-up, a deliberate attempt to smear us”.

Kemi has stated that many Reform supporters “don’t know who they’re voting for”. The senior Conservative – who ran for party leadership in 2022 – hinted earlier this week at a tilt at the top job, saying “we will talk about leadership things after an election” and refused to rule out her own bid.

Candidates running for the North West Essex seat are Erik Bonino (Independent), Edward Gildea (Green), Andrew David Green (Independent), Niko Omilana (Independent), Smita Rajesh (Liberal Democrat), Grant StClair-Armstrong (Reform UK), and Issy Waite (Labour).