Nigel Farage endorses DUP candidates despite alliance with TUV

Nigel Farage
-Credit: (Image: Leon Neal/Getty Images)


Reform UK leader Nigel Farage has said he will be personally endorsing two DUP candidates in the General Election – despite his party’s alliance with the rival Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV).

Mr Farage distanced himself from a recent electoral alliance with the TUV which had been agreed by his predecessor Richard Tice.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Nigel Farage gave his backing to two DUP candidates.

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“As far as the Northern Ireland thing is concerned, I want to make it clear that whilst there have been negotiations going on in previous times, I will personally be endorsing Ian Paisley and Sammy Wilson," he said.

Mr Paisley is the DUP candidate in North Antrim, where he will be challenged by TUV leader Jim Allister.

Mr Wilson is running in the East Antrim constituency, where the TUV candidate is Matthew Warwick.

The TUV had formed an electoral alliance with Reform UK ahead of July’s poll and is standing in 14 constituencies in Northern Ireland.

Reform’s pact with the TUV was announced by the party’s then-leader Richard Tice in March this year.

Pressed about his party’s alliance with the TUV, Mr Farage said: “Well, new leadership brings change.

“I wish the TUV well, but I’m gonna stand up to support Sammy Wilson and Ian Paisley as people I fought with all through the Brexit years.”

Responding to the remarks, TUV leader Jim Allister said: "“TUV entered an electoral arrangement with Reform UK in good faith. We have kept faith with that agreement.

“The comments by Mr Farage today are, of course, disappointing and not compatible with the content of a conversation I had with him last week.

“The endorsement that TUV seeks in this election is that of ordinary voters who know who has from the start told them the truth about the Union-dismantling Protocol, while the DUP tried to hoodwink them with false claims that they had got rid of the Irish Sea border.”

In a joint statement, Sammy Wilson and Ian Paisley welcomed the endorsement and called on the TUV to drop the Reform UK branding from their campaign.

“Nigel Farage is a household name and we welcome his endorsement as the best pro-union candidate in our constituencies. Nigel knows us and knows our record of delivering for the people," they said.

"This is very embarrassing for Jim Allister as the Reform UK Leader has endorsed us rather than him because the Reform UK Leader recognised that on the big issues, we could be relied upon. Some people know how to build relationships and deliver results, others just talk about the problems.

"The Electoral Commission has ruled that the “TUV-Reform UK” description is misleading. With the Reform UK Leader now backing me, it's clear the TUV-Reform UK relationship is non-existent.

"In light of this development, it is time that TUV stopped trying to fool the voters by using Reform UK branding and logos when it is clear that the Leader of Reform UK is not supporting TUV. It's time for TUV to drop the Reform UK branding.”

In a recent interview with the PA news agency, TUV leader Mr Allister characterised the TUV/Reform UK alliance as the “authentic voice” of opposition to post-Brexit trading barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

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