Nigel Farage wins Clacton seat as Reform UK party leader

Nigel Farage wins Clacton seat as Reform UK party leader

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage has at last been elected as an MP, taking the seat of Clacton in Essex after seven unsuccessful attempts to get into the House of Commons.

Mr Farage received 21,225 votes, comfortably beating the Conservatives’ Giles Watling with a majority of 8,405.

The result came following Lee Anderson’s win in Ashfield, marking the first time the party, which was formed in 2018, has managed to secure an MP at the ballot box.

Party chairman Richard Tice has also won his seat in Boston and Skegness, with a 2,010 majority.

Businessman and former Southampton FC chairman Rupert Lowe also won Great Yarmouth, taking the seat from the Conservatives.

An exit poll for the BBC, Sky and ITV predicted that the party could win 13 seats – higher than predictions by most polls.

However, as results started to roll in, two of those went to Labour.

Mr Farage will finally enter the commons on his eighth attempt (Joe Giddens/PA Wire)

In his victory speech Mr Farage declared his party is “coming for Labour”, adding that it has been a “remarkably clean” battle for the seat as he thanked his fellow candidates.

He told his audience in Clacton he wanted to fill a “massive gap on the centre-right of British politics”, and is “targeting” Labour supporters.

“There’s no enthusiasm for Labour, there’s no enthusiasm for Starmer whatsoever. In fact, about half of the vote is simply an anti-Conservative vote.

“This Labour government will be in trouble very, very quickly and we will now be targeting Labour votes. We’re coming for Labour, be in no doubt about that.

“Believe me folks, this is just the first step of something that is going to stun all of you.”

Party chairman Richard Tice has also won his seat in Boston and Skegness, with a 2,010 majority (Sky)

Mr Farage added that he would do his “absolute best” as an MP as he hailed the efforts of his party, which looks set to take around a dozen parliamentary seats.

“It’s four weeks and three days since I decided to come out of retirement and throw my hat in the ring,” he said. “I think what Reform UK has achieved in just those few short weeks is truly extraordinary.

“Given we had no money, no branch structure, virtually nothing across the country, we’re going to come second in hundreds of constituencies, how many seats we’re going to win – I don’t know.

“But to have done this in such a short space of time says something very fundamental is happening.”

Speaking after his victory in Ashfield, Mr Anderson told reporters he was “delighted but not surprised” about his win.

“This is the capital of common sense, by the way – people speak their mind in this area and they’ve had enough of the two mainstream parties.

“The Reform Party, people like myself, Richard (Tice) and Nigel speak the same language, in a different accent obviously, we speak the same language as the great people of Ashfield.

“So when this gig came up and I was asked to stand again for the Reform Party, it was a no brainer to be honest with you.”

Reform UK secured its first seat with Lee Anderson in Ashfield (Reuters)

Mr Farage initially announced he would not run in the general election, before changing his mind because he couldn’t “let down millions of people”.

Clacton is the only constituency to have elected a Ukip (or Brexit Party) candidate at a general election – the Conservative defector Douglas Carswell in 2015.

It also had the fifth highest Leave vote in the UK (71 per cent) at the Brexit referendum in 2016.

His win comes following a controversial Reform campaign marred by allegations of racism, misogyny and homophobia.

A string of scandals hit Reform over the last few weeks, including a party activist calling prime minister Rishi Sunak a “f****** p***”. Another party activist was caught describing the Pride flag as “degenerate” and LGBT+ people “nonces”.

These incidents followed a candidate stepping away from the party for historic comments praising Hitler and Mr Farage himself being accused of “appeasing Vladimir Putin” by blaming the west for the invasion of Ukraine.

Before the general election, the Reform UK leader said his long-term goal was to run for prime minister in 2029. He said: “That is our ambition. And we believe it is achievable.”

Full result for Clacton

Nigel Farage, Reform – 21,225 (46.18%)

Giles Watling, Conservative – 12,820 (27.90%)

Jovan Owusu-Nepaul (Lab) – 7,448 (16.21%)

Matthew Bensilum (LD) – 2,016 (4.39%)

Natasha Osben (Green) – 1,935 (4.21%)

Tony Mack (Ind) 317 – (0.69%)

Andrew Pemberton (UKIP) – 116 (0.25%)

Craig Jamieson (Climate) – 48 (0.10%)

Tasos Papanastasiou (Heritage) – 33 (0.07%)

Reform majority – 8,405 (18.29%)