In Brief

Coronavirus: Nigel Farage to rebrand Brexit Party to protest Covid-19 lockdown

Newly formed Reform UK will campaign for shift in focus to achieving herd immunity

Nigel Farage is returning to the political spotlight to relaunch the Brexit Party as an anti-lockdown party called Reform UK.

Announcing their plans in an article in The Telegraph, Farage and former Brexit Party chair Richard Tice say that lockdowns “cause more harm than good” and that only the elderly and most vulnerable should be isolated in order to provide “focused protection” from Covid-19. The rest of the population should “get on with life”, allowing the young to “act as warriors” by creating a “shield of protection” in the form of herd immunity, they write. 

“We must put Covid-related deaths into perspective - around 1,600 people die every day in the UK, for some reason or other. The truth is this horrible illness is only very dangerous for a tiny minority of people,” Farage and Tice add.

Their new political venture will alarm Conservative MPs who are “scarred by the way that Farage’s previous Eurosceptic parties - the UK Independence Party and the Brexit Party - sapped support for the Tory party at previous elections”, says The Telegraph’s chief political correspondent Christopher Hope.

Farage reportedly hopes to field Reform UK candidates at May’s local elections, when the Tories are contesting thousands of shire seats, as well as policing and crime commissioner positions. He is also expected to stand candidates at the next general election, scheduled to take place in 2024.

The former UKIP leader told Hope that he expects to find support among people whose businesses have been damaged or destroyed by the lockdown. There is “a massive political hole at the moment”, Farage claims, and the pandemic has highlighted “how badly governed we are”.

Farage set up the Brexit Party ahead of last year’s European Parliament elections, winning 29 seats - the most of any UK party. Speaking about Reform UK, he said: “Brexit is the beginning of what we need. Brexit gives us self-governance - we now need to have good self-governance.”

According to the Daily Mail, “hundreds of thousands of pounds” has already been pledged for the rebadged party.

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