Nigel Farage's Reform UK cited as factor in Teesside Tory MP's General Election exit

Jacob Young gives a speech after his General Election loss and, right, a photo posted on his Facebook page over the weekend
-Credit: (Image: LDRS/Jacob Young/Facebook)


Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party has been blamed in some quarters for the General Election defeat of Redcar Conservative MP Jacob Young.

Conservative councillor Justin Thompson, who represents the Skelton East ward on Redcar and Cleveland Council, claimed Reform UK voters had handed Labour ’s Anna Turley victory. The party’s candidate John Davies picked up 7,216 votes, an 18.8% share of the vote in Redcar, beating the Liberal Democrats into fourth place in the poll, while undoubtedly collecting some previous Tory-supporting voters on the way.

Mr Davies said Reform UK were “just getting started”.

Responding on social media to Mr Young’s exit, Cllr Thompson said: “I’m very aware the majority wanted the Conservatives out of No 10, but I don't think it's happened because the people believe Labour will perform. The votes for Reform is proof of that around the county.”

There was also unlikely support for Mr Young from George Dunning, the former Labour leader on Redcar and Cleveland Council, who made a similar point to Cllr Thompson. Also writing on Facebook, he said Mr Young had done very well for the area and politics was a “cruel business”.

Mr Dunning, a former steelworker, said: “You took defeat with dignity. It was the party infighting and Reform which cost many Tories their seats.”

Councillor Paul Salvin, the leader of the Conservative group on Redcar and Cleveland Council, meanwhile hailed Mr Young as the “best MP Greater Eston has had”. Cllr Salvin, who had been part of Mr Young’s campaign, said: “Thanks for finally delivering for this area and bringing in the money that will help regenerate the area after decades of Labour inaction.”

The returning Ms Turley secured 41% of the vote in Redcar, with 15,663 votes to Mr Young’s 12,340 votes, a 3,323 majority.

Mr Young, who ousted Ms Turley in 2019, saw his previous 3,527 majority overturned with the result which was a swing of 9.8%. The now ex-MP, a local chemical worker who was formerly a councillor in Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough, said the support he had received “meant the world to me”.

Those posting on Facebook in support of Mr Young in the wake of Thursday’s General Election included volunteer community group Ladies of Steel, which said he had given his time many times over to some of their causes. Redcar-based knife crime campaigner Theresa Cave also said: “You couldn’t [have] worked any harder in your campaign. You stood by us at CCF [Chris Cave Foundation] and we will be forever grateful to you.”

Mr Young, who was previously appointed a Levelling Up Minister while in Government, wrote on Facebook: “Being the first MP for our area who was born and raised in Teesside is an honour that will stay with me forever. This is obviously quite a difficult time for me as I work out what’s next, but I want to say thank you to everyone for all of the support I’ve been given and the kindness from those around me.

“Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart - and for those asking what’s next for me? I’ll be spending more time with my family and enjoying the freedom of being just Jacob.”

In his concession speech at Redcar Leisure Centre, Mr Young had described democracy as a “strange beast”, “throwing out results you don’t expect that you must accept”, while suggesting he had not expected to take the seat from Ms Turley in 2019.

In her victory speech Ms Turley praised her “amazing team” and Labour members and activists locally who had “worked so hard” to help her get re-elected. She said: “Most importantly of all I want to thank the people of Redcar and Cleveland who have put their trust in me.

“It was the honour of my life to serve you before and to have the chance to serve you again is completely humbling.” She described how some people had lost their faith in politics altogether and it could still be a “force for good”. Ms Turley said: “I promise to work tirelessly to deliver for you. Things can and will get better.”

In her social media activity since being re-elected as an MP, Ms Turley described on X how she was “rolling up my sleeves on day one” and helping with a litter pick on Saltburn beach, and also later posted photos over the weekend from the Cleveland Pride festival.

She was also pictured on X on Monday morning with newly elected Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Luke Myer at Eaglescliffe train station with the pair heading down to Westminster and both pledging to stand up for their communities and make sure they “get their voices heard”, while also being “part of the change our country is going to see”.

Mr Myer narrowly defeated Conservative Sir Simon Clarke by just 214 votes to take his seat in Parliament.

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