Major Tory donor and ex-Newcastle United owner Sir John Hall defects to back Nigel Farage and Reform UK

Sir John Hall, speaking at Rainton Arena as he endorsed Reform UK
-Credit: (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

Former Newcastle United owner and prominent Conservative donor Sir John Hall has endorsed Nigel Farage and Reform UK.

The 91-year-old was a surprise guest at a rally with Mr Farage at the Rainton Arena in Houghton le Spring on Thursday. Sir John said he had been “let down” by the Tories and had told them to “get stuffed”.

He is believed to have donated more than £500,000 to the party over the years. Sir John, a property developer who was behind the building of the Metrocentre, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he believed Reform was the “only party who will protect and save my English culture”.

He said: “I am a disillusioned Conservative supporter. I have supported the Conservative Party since the Mrs Thatcher days. I have had a business for 50 years and when I started it I met Mrs Thatcher. I didn’t join the Tory Party but I supported them in this region with money etc.

“And I feel in these latter years they have let me down. They have let me down from the point of view of my culture.”

Sir John confirmed that he would be donating financially to Reform and, asked what he had told the Conservative Party about his switch of allegiances, replied: “I told them to get stuffed. I supported them financially and I have worked in this area for them. They wrote to me and I sent letters back to say ‘no’... they let me down, you would not let them run your business. They have let me down, they have let Conservative voters like myself down.”

Sir John told the LDRS that he had “fought for diversity and equality in this region”, but had been angered by pro-Palestine marches taking place on Armistice weekend last year and felt like a “stranger in my own land”. He said that he was not opposed to immigration but he did not “want to see my Englishness and my English culture destroyed.”

Sir John said: “I don’t want to leave an England and a UK for my great grandchildren where in effect all our ways have gone, where we have enclaves everywhere and nobody is prepared to stand up and fight for my Englishness. And we are, at the end of the day, English people. I’m white, I am proud of it and I am not going to go away from it. I want to see my culture kept in this country and not destroyed. That is why I am voting for Nigel – there is nobody else.

“The Labour Party will give religious people anything they want for the votes. Nigel is the only one who is prepared to stand up for what I believe in and I believe millions of other people feel the same. We have to organise them and protect the country. I am not against people coming in, but if people come here and I have to follow English law and customs then so should they.”

Speaking on stage in front of a 1,000-strong crowd, Mr Farage joked that it was the first time that Sir John had ever received a standing ovation in Sunderland.

Asking supporters, who had paid £5 a ticket to attend the event, to "put football rivalries aside for a moment", he added: "I'm delighted that joining us today, supporting us, giving us a donation after decades of publicly supporting the Conservatives, somebody who is a phenomenal, amazing success story and indeed a role model for the people of the North East - with us today supporting us is Sir John Hall."

Ged Grebby, chief executive of Show Racism the Red Card, said Sir John’s comments were “riddled with ignorance” and decribed Reform UK as a "very, very dangerous organisation". He added: “These quotes can stoke up hatred. These sort of views can embolden people to go out and commit racist abuse.”