Nigel Farage's party Reform aiming for more than 10 Senedd Members, says party's Welsh lead

Reform UK's Nigel Farage photographed at the House of Commons
-Credit: (Image: PA)


Reform UK is aiming to win more than 10 seats in the Welsh Parliament at the next election, according to the party's Wales manager.

Ms Jones, who previously ran a cafe in Porthcawl and worked as a prison officer at HMP Parc in Bridgend, became a Senedd member when Ukip won seven seats in the 2016 Senedd election. She said that she believed Reform was on track to win even more seats than Ukip did eight years ago.

At the general election last week, Reform won 17% of the vote around Wales, only marginally behind the Conservatives on 18% and Ms Jones said she believed the party was on course to win more seats than Ukip had done in 2016. In 13 of Wales' 32 constituencies including Bridgend, Reform came second.

READ MORE: The general election results in full for every constituency

READ MORE: The Nigel Farage effect: How Reform UK overnight became one of the biggest forces in Welsh politics

At the next Senedd election in 2016, there will be a different voting system and an increase in the number of Senedd members from 60 to 96.

Mrs Jones said the timing of the Westminster election took them "on the hop". She said: "We had started preparing and all candidates were in situ. Some had never been candidates before but the six weeks did come as a bit of a shock. Obviously we didn't expect it in July, we thought we had more time to prepare and get the leaflets printed but it suddenly became a huge rush, for every party, not just us. We were caught on the hop.

"Considering that, I think we did remarkably well to get, as a new party, five MPs in. I wished Wales could have had something but we are Labour-entrenched in Wales, it is first past the post and it begs the question why Reform had only five MPs with four million votes and the Lib Dems have 72 MPs with 3.5 million votes. It isn't representing the public."

When Nigel Farage made a return and announced he would be a candidate in the Essex seat of Clacton, she said that made a difference. She said: "People absolutely love Nigel, like us all there are people who don't but the majority were just so excited about Nigel coming back".

In the 2024 election in Wales, the party's best result was in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, where 23.7% of voters voted for candidate Gareth Thomas - second to Labour's Gerald Jones, the winning candidate. It is the constituency where Nigel Farage attended to launch the party's equivalent of a manifesto.

In Llanelli, Reform's Gareth Beer won 11,247 votes - only marginally shy of winning Labour candidate Nia Griffith who took 12,751 votes.

Ms Jones said: "To me, that proved Wales is turning a corner. Voting is changing, there's less turnout, there's voter apathy, but that's because it's first past the post, safe seats should not be in existence now. There should be no such thing. People now need a different voting system."

Reform UK's Caroline Jones, the party's candidate in Bridgend
Reform UK's Caroline Jones, the party's candidate in Bridgend -Credit:Reem Ahmed

In two years, the Senedd will elect politicians via a different voting system and asked if she was optimistic that would result in Reform candidates being elected she said: "Absolutely". She expects it to exceed the seven UKIP secured in 2016. "I think we'll be working with double figures, we'll be working to be the opposition in that Senedd because that's exactly what it needs, an opposition. Plaid Cymru are not an opposition because as soon as they get elected they join forces with Labour and that, to me, defeats the object of an opposition".

The target areas will be the south Wales valleys seats, she says. "Where there's more of a chance we'll be giving it all we've got, putting all our efforts into the Senedd and hopefully getting double figures". The landscape is, she said: "Starting to turn. When people in Wales become more familiar with us, if we start branches and made our presence more prominent then that would stand us in good stead in two years time.

"One thing I like in Reform is that there's no arguments, no one upmanship, we all work towards the same goal and that's a refreshing change looking around me and looking at the other parties and the way they argue," she said, confirming she will stand again. "I always felt I had unfinished business in the Senedd," she said.