Published On: Tue, Apr 16th, 2024

Reform insurgence sparks panic from top Tory as he faces humiliating Mayoral defeat | Politics | News

Richard Tice has warned Tories that “the punishment and replacement programme has just begun” after a senior Conservative was said to be panicking that he will lose because his voters have fled to Reform UK.

Sources close to Birmingham Mayor Andy Street are blaming switchers to Reform for his impending loss in the election on May 2.

The 60-year-old who has been Mayor of Birmingham since 2017 won a second term comfortably in 2021 when he got 54% of the vote.

But according to a Redfield and Wilton poll Street is trailing in a distant second place with 28% of the vote compared to Labour candidate Richard Parker’s 42%.

This is despite Street removing reference to the Conservative Party from his literature and running on his own record as a reforming Mayor in the West Midlands.

Most concerningly is that the Reform candidate Elaine Williams is on 13% with the gap between Street and Parker at 14%.

A source close to Street told “Reform could cost Andy the mayoralty.”

But there was no sympathy from Reform’s leader Richard Tice who has made it his aim to destroy the Tories for failing to be properly conservative.

He said: “Excellent. Serves them right and he is just the start of the punishment and replacement programme.”

Reform deputy leader Ben Habib added: “Did they not understand about our declaration that we aim to obliterate them? The existential threat into which they have delivered the country must be punished.”

Reform’s national share of the vote is averaging at around 13% in different polls with almost one in five Tory voters from 2019 now supporting them.

There has been a surge in support for the party which was previously the Brexit Party since the arrival of Lee Anderson who was controversially kicked out of the Tories over alleged “Islamophobia”.

The Birmingham Mayoral vote on May 2 will be keenly watched by Tory MPs because many of the Red Wall seats won off Labour in 2019 were in the West Midlands.

A heavy defeat for Street could signal a collapse in Tory seats in the region and other Red Wall areas.

Conservative MPs are understood to be watching the local election results on May 2 before deciding whether to remove Rishi Sunak.

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