Reform targets Labour’s Welsh valley heartlands with manifesto launch

Nigel Farage believes working-class communities in Wales have been forgotten by Westminster
Nigel Farage believes working-class communities in Wales have been forgotten by Westminster - GEORGE CRACKNELL WRIGHT

Nigel Farage will hold Reform UK’s manifesto launch in the Welsh valleys as he opens up a new front in the general election by taking the fight to Labour.

Mr Farage believes Reform can take seats from Labour in Wales, which voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.

He believes working-class communities in the principality have been forgotten by Westminster in the years since devolution, and that they have been poorly served by the Labour-controlled Welsh Assembly.

All but five council areas in Wales voted Leave in 2016, including the former mining communities in the valleys in South Wales.

The Reform manifesto, to be unveiled on Monday, will contain plenty of criticism of the Conservative government, but will also highlight “the disaster of the devolved Labour government in a left-behind part of the country”, according to a party source.

‘Devolution disaster’

Reform claims some polls show it is already ahead of the Conservatives in the popular vote in Wales, and that every party led by Mr Farage has beaten the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru party in the popular vote in every election they have contested.

A spokesman for Reform UK said: “Everyone else has launched their manifesto in nice, shiny venues in areas that are friendly to them. We are going to do something different.

“Since devolution Westminster has almost forgotten the existence of Wales and Scotland.

“Wales has been left behind and we will highlight that, and what the people of Wales have had to put up with, like the terrible impact of net zero on Port Talbot.”

Earlier this year the Abbey steelworks in Port Talbot announced the loss of 2,500 jobs, which has been blamed on the Government’s net zero strategy, backed by Labour.

Reform’s membership grew by 50 per cent in the week after Mr Farage unexpectedly announced he was returning as the party’s leader and standing for parliament, having previously ruled out doing so.