You scared, Dominic? Raab squirms in Nigel Farage return probe over Tory support drop

Dominic Raab responds to Farage's vote increase in by-election

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Dominic Raab was confronted over the 18,000-vote drop in support for the Conservative candidate in Thursday’s Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election. Newly elected MP Louie French saw his party’s majority severely dwindle as Reform UK leader Richard Tice snatched seven percent of the vote. With suggestions Mr Tice secured his deposit by winning over disgruntled Tory voters, Deputy Prime Minister Raab was confronted on whether Boris Johnson should be concerned about Mr Tice’s predecessor Nigel Farage returning to the political scene and stealing away more supporters.

Sky News host Trevor Phillips said: “You won in Bexley but actually part of the reason you did do as badly as you did is that Nigel Farage’s party, the Reform Party, took seven percent of the vote.

“They kept their deposit. Are you worried about the return of Farage?”

Mr Raab said: “We worry about delivering for the people of this country whether it’s on the economy, vaccines, criminal justice.

“But in Bexley and Sidcup, for a Government two years in, we took over half of the vote.”

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Mr Phillips cut in: “It’s not the question I asked you. I asked about Nigel Farage coming back to politics.”

The Deputy Prime Minister hit back: “Us in Government, particularly as the Conservatives, we should be focussing on the people’s priorities which is not worrying about the political competition. It’s worrying about delivering for the people of this country.

“In Old Bexley and Sidcup, we secured over half of the vote with this great candidate and we’re going to continue focussing on the people’s priorities.”

Polling expert John Curtice warned the Reform Party could cause significant issues for Boris Johnson, especially in areas perceived to have been betrayed by the Government.


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Speaking to GB News about the Conservatives’ performance in the by-election, Sir John said: “There’s that small niggle that Richard Tice, the leader of the Reform Party, managed to save his deposit – pretty much all of that would have come from Leave voters and therefore mostly people who would otherwise have voted Conservative.

“Boris Johnson might want to see Reform UK take off.

“I think it’s still a long way from doing that but just a warning there that if Reform UK were to become more widely known and were to start to pick up some support, then the Conservatives might have further reason to worry.”

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