Yesterday Reform UK leader Richard Tice issued an urgent appeal to the public to get behind his party as ‘the only party that believes in Britain, that is optimistic about our future and the opportunities that Brexit brings’.
He accused the Tories of betraying Brexit and the people of Britain on every count.
‘In 2016, 17.4million of us voted to take back control of our borders, our laws and our money. Brexit also meant a fresh start for communities around the country.
‘On almost every measure the Tories have failed. Net migration has broken the 500,000 mark to set new records. Over 40,000 illegal immigrants have crossed the Channel this year alone. On some days criminal gangs bring nearly 1,300 migrants across – enough to fill a small holiday ferry. Meanwhile, civil servants book out 4-star luxury hotels to house them.
‘Many British families can’t afford a holiday next year. Yet they’re the ones footing the bill of £7million every day. For years the Tories promised to stop this welfare bonanza. But they’ve taken us for fools.
‘Since the ConSocialist coup against Liz Truss, the Tories have shown even more contempt for us.
‘Jeremy Hunt hit struggling communities with a devastating austerity Budget. It was a tax on working people. He could have cut waste such as HS2, or billions in handouts to renewable energy. Instead, he chose to make you and your family poorer. It was completely unnecessary.
‘This comes on top of self-harming Net Zero policies. An utterly broken NHS. Tory sleaze and corruption. The tragic legacy of the lockdown and much more.’
The government ‘have taken a wrecking ball to Britain’ and it’s ‘no surprise the Tories think that now is the time to betray Brexit’. After all, just like the Brussels bureaucrats, Tice says stingingly, the Sunak government is unelected. ‘They think they can do what they like’.
No one believes them when they deny they are doing a Swiss-style agreement with the EU, he goes on, and with good reason. This was in the same week as the revelation that Rishi Sunak turned to Gordon Brown for advice, he reports. And now Remain activist Will Dry is a special adviser in No 10!
Tice’s indictment continues: ‘Furthermore, leaked plans for a “Swiss-style relationship” left out something important. In 2021 Swiss ministers walked out of talks with the EU. They wouldn’t compromise on protecting their welfare system and high wages for working people. If only our government had their courage.
They don’t, and it’s worse than that. Never forget that both Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt voted for Theresa May’s Withdrawal Bill – the worst deal in history. Hunt even said that failure to vote for it could lead to “No Brexit”.
‘That means they voted to follow EU rules on competition, the environment, employment and state aid. We would have been in a new customs union under the European Court of Justice. They were ready to lock us into the EU as a vassal state, paying Brussels up to £60billion for the privilege.’
He reminds us ‘that most of the 277 Tory MPs who voted for this betrayal are still in Parliament’. And that the only reason Labour voted against it was because they wanted even more of a sell-out!
Twisting the knife, he says that ‘with all their planning and scheming since 2016, they still couldn’t close a free trade agreement with America’. That was even when the much derided and shamefully reviled President Trump offered a ‘massive’ deal. In case you’d missed it, Tice reminds us, we still have no deal with India and only just signed an agreement with Australia and New Zealand last year.
You can judge the ‘in name onlys’ by their words as well as their deeds. The Tories are a party that tolerates their Remainer core describing those defending a meaningful Brexit as ‘fanatical’, ‘hard right’ or ‘extremist’, words that Tice says ‘betray a contemptuous mindset that will reverse Brexit at the slightest chance’.
He believes that many Remainers would prefer Britain to fail than admit they were wrong. Could that explain the self-sabotage of Jeremy Hunt’s Budget, that’s been so strongly supported by the Remain establishment, he asks? From the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development saying ‘our economy will shrink the most out of the G7 countries’, to the Office for Budget Responsibility which says we must accept the ‘biggest fall in living standards since records began’ with even the Bank of England claiming we will be in recession for over a year (for which Bank Governor Andrew Bailey blames Brexit) they are all busy trashing Britain instead of talking it up.
Tice didn’t use the phrase ‘gaslighting’ to describe this but he could have done.
Why should we believe them? he asks. Quite so. The OBR has a woeful track record, as Ewen Stewart details here, and the OECD, which has received over a hundred million euros from the EU in the last decade, is hardly impartial. Tice says he expected more from the Governor of the Bank of England.
I have only one disagreement with Richard. When he writes ‘the Tories are failing’, I would say emphatically that they HAVE failed. Their policies have made millions of people around the country poorer, colder, hungrier and less safe, and they are strangling the private sector – the businesses that drive the economy – into extinction while burdening our children’s future with unprecedented levels of debt, a hopeless yet astonishingly expensive and wasteful health service, a workshy culture and public service chaos all round.
But what Tice won’t let them get away with is what they are trying to do – which is play the blame game and make Brexit is the number one target. No, it is their total incompetence.
He ends with a rallying cry for his party: ‘I believe in Britain and I know that it just doesn’t have to be like this. Brexit gives us the freedom to grow our way out of hard times. Only Reform UK understands this. Only we have a fully costed plan to cut tax, support growth and reduce inflation. And only Reform UK will secure our borders with a pick-up and return policy for illegal migrants.
‘We are the only party that believes in Britain, that is optimistic about our future and the opportunities that Brexit brings. That means we must be ready to fight a general election whenever it comes, and win our first seats. We are the only party that can build the future that 17.4million people voted for and millions more people want. There will be no Brexit betrayal while Reform UK stands.’
Tice is without doubt finding his voice – the big question for Britain’s future is whether he can make it heard.