Nigel Farage claims Reform UK set to come second across the North East in General Election

Reform leader Nigel Farage speaking to hundreds of supporters at Rainton arena, Houghton Le Spring
-Credit: (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)


Reform UK leader Nigel Farage has said his party is the only one that can challenge Labour in the North East at next week's General Election.

Speaking in Sunderland to around 1,000 supporters, Mr Farage conceded that Sir Keir Starmer would be Prime Minister after the country went to the polls on July 4. But he insisted that his party was in the running to become the opposition to a Labour government and was likely to come second in many North East constituencies.

Mr Farage was speaking after a new MRP poll by Electoral Calculus predicted a strong performance by Reform in the North East, though most other polls have his party not winning a single seat in the region.

Speaking at the event at the Rainton Arena, Mr Farage said: "The Tories deserve to lose the election, but Labour don't deserve to win. Here in the North East, and particularly in Sunderland, Reform UK is now second to Labour in every single constituency with the Conservatives trailing in third.

"A Conservative vote is a vote for Labour, it's a wasted vote. We are the challengers. I want Conservative voters who feel the Brexit vote has been betrayed to switch their support to us.

"When I, very generously, stood down against Boris Johnson in 320 seats, it gave Boris an open door and it helped him to get the biggest majority of modern times. But you all know we voted Brexit to take back control of our borders and to reduce the number of people coming in. Frankly, what they have done is nothing less than a complete betrayal of the Brexit vote, and the General Election vote in 2019."

The Electoral Calculus poll, which is based on data collected from 19,000 people between June 14 and June 24, predicts Reform will win in Washington and Gateshead South and come second in many constituency across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham.

But the poll has already been criticised by many experts as being something of an outlier, with a number of seemingly unlikely results being predicted. Electoral Calculus predicts Reform could win 18 seats next week but a separate poll tracker built by Britain Elects and the New Statesman puts the party at six MPs, while a YouGov poll carried out between June 11 and 18 puts them on five.

Mr Farage's speech, which lasted more than half an hour, covered a range of topics. On crime, Mr Farage said: "There is a growing sense of unease about crime on the streets. The number of young people out there now, threatening people, stealing mobile phones and carrying knives makes us all think twice about going out on a evening."

Asked about his party's offer to young people, Mr Farage said: "We're winning the social media war in the most incredible way, and we have done it without spending a fortune.

Reform leader Nigel Farage speaking to hundreds of supporters at Rainton arena, Houghton Le Spring
Reform leader Nigel Farage speaking to hundreds of supporters at Rainton arena, Houghton Le Spring -Credit:Newcastle Chronicle

"The others are paying hundreds of thousands, even seven-figure money. We're dong very, very well amongst the younger generation on TikTok, I've got a bigger TikTok following than anybody else by miles - maybe going in the jungle helped, I don't know.

"If I go back to UKIP and the Brexit Party, our support amongst the 18-24s was quite minimal. Now we've got three or four times that of the Conservatives, albeit Labour are ahead. Something big is happening with younger voters, no question.

"The idea is, if we can stop the exploding population, one day they might be able to have a house they can buy or rent they can afford. That's the biggest issue I'm seeing with young people - our population is exploding, it's virtually impossible."

Elsewhere, Mr Farage said Reform would aim for "net zero" migration, and called for the scrapping of environmental net zero targets, claiming the public would face higher costs.