Migrant crisis key doorstep issue in by-election, says Reform UK candidate

·2-min read
People thought to be migrants arrive on a dinghy at a beach in Dungeness, Kent - Gareth Fuller /PA
People thought to be migrants arrive on a dinghy at a beach in Dungeness, Kent - Gareth Fuller /PA

The migrant crisis has become a key issue on the doorstep in the Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election campaign, the Reform UK candidate has said, as he accused Tories of "warm words but nothing changes".

Richard Tice, the leader of Reform UK and the party's candidate for Thursday's by-election, said illegal migration had become a major issue for voters.

"It comes up a lot on the doors," he said.

"People have been saying, before and afterwards, that it’s got to stop.

"We have got all the warm words from the Tories but nothing changes. People want action, not waffle.

"I think by next March, we will be at 1,500 [migrants crossing] a day, unless there is a significant change."

The by-election in Old Bexley and Sidcup, in south-east London, was called following the death of the former MP, James Brokenshire, in October.

Richard Tice, Reform UK candidate for Old Bexley and Sidcup
Richard Tice, Reform UK candidate for Old Bexley and Sidcup

Boris Johnson could see a reduction in his party’s majority there after voters expressed concerns over sleaze in Westminster and the Government’s failure to stop the dangerous Channel crossings.

Mr Tice told The Telegraph that the Conservatives were “terrified” of losing votes, but the party is widely expected to hold the seat, which has been represented by a Tory MP since its creation in 1983.

The latest research by the polling firm YouGov suggests 76 per cent of the UK public believe the Government is handling immigration badly, while 12 per cent feel it is handling the issue well.

“We all want and welcome smart, lawful immigration, but no one wants uncontrolled illegal immigration that enriches the smugglers and puts the lives of the illegal migrants in serious peril, as tragically we have seen,” Mr Tice said.

Mr Tice is battling Louie French, the Conservative candidate, and Labour’s Daniel Francis.

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