Reform UK hits highest-ever polling level after Lee Anderson row

Richard Tice, the Reform Party leader, speaks to the media at the Rochdale by-election count
Richard Tice, the Reform Party leader, speaks to the media at the Rochdale by-election count - Asadour Guzelian

Reform UK has hit its highest-ever polling support level in the aftermath of the Tory row over the suspension of Lee Anderson.

A YouGov survey, published on Friday, showed that the Right-wing party, led by Richard Tice, was now at 14 percentage points – up one from the previous week.

The Conservatives were just six points ahead of their rivals on the Right, polling at 20 points. More than one in five 2019 Tory voters currently intend to back Reform.

The poll, conducted between Feb 28 and 29, suggests Mr Tice may have benefited from Tory splits over Mr Anderson, a former Conservative deputy chairman who lost the whip last week for claiming that “Islamists” had “got control” of Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London.

Mr Tice has reportedly gone on to hold talks with Mr Anderson, the MP for Ashfield, who he said “speaks for millions of people who are appalled by what is happening to our country”.

The poll showed that Labour remained on 46 points despite a difficult few weeks for Sir Keir Starmer. The Labour leader has ditched a flagship £28 billion green spending pledge and faced criticism over his handling of an anti-Semitism row in Rochdale.

YouGov said: “This is Reform UK’s highest vote intention share to date, with the party currently taking 21 per cent of those who voted Conservative in 2019. The Tories are holding on to just 35 per cent of their previous voters, with 12 per cent going to Labour and 20 per cent unsure.”

Responding to the poll, Mr Tice wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “Our first 14 per cent national poll for Reform – just 6 per cent behind the toxic Tories.”

Earlier this week, Reform recorded its highest-ever level of support with Savanta, which put it on 10 per cent of the vote.

Despite the party’s strong showing in the polls, it recorded just 6.3 per cent of the vote at the Rochdale by-election on Thursday.

Mr Tice went on to claim that the by-election in the Greater Manchester town – won by George Galloway, of the Workers Party of Britain, on a pro-Palestinian ticket – was not “free and fair” after Simon Danczuk, Reform’s candidate, and his campaigners allegedly suffered abuse and death threats.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats had their worst showing in a YouGov poll in 17 months, with Sir Ed Davey’s party at seven points – its lowest total since September 2022.

The Telegraph’s poll tracker has shown a surge in support for Reform in the past three years since it rebranded from the Brexit Party at the start of 2021 to oppose Covid lockdown restrictions.

Mr Tice has credited the sacking of Suella Braverman as home secretary and the return of Lord Cameron – widely seen as being on the liberal wing of the Conservatives – with helping him recruit hundreds of new members.

Reform’s policies include the abolition of all flagship net zero targets, sweeping tax cuts and the sacking of head teachers who allow the teaching of gender ideology or critical race theory in schools.