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How Nigel Farage blew up the UK election – POLITICO

How Nigel Farage blew up the UK election – POLITICO

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This, in part, was why Sunak called his snap election for July 4 — a desire to catch Reform on the hop, while the party lacked the structure and resources to pose a serious threat.

At first it seemed the gamble had paid off. Farage announced he would not run for election, saying there was no time to build a winning campaign. He preferred instead to focus on the U.S. presidential campaign, he said, where he has been a regular cheerleader for his friend Donald Trump.

But within a week, Farage had changed his mind — and with it, the course of the campaign. He would stand for parliament as leader of Reform UK. The Tory campaign was distraught. Reform began to surge in the polls.

Seeking revenge

“I took the day off yesterday,” Farage told journalists at a hastily-organized press conference to announce his decision. “Had a normal day. Walked the dogs. Did a bit of fishing. Popped into the pub, you know — a normal sort of day. It gave me time to think and reflect, and I began to feel a terrible sense of guilt.”

Farage himself admitted in response to a question from POLITICO that there was work to do in gaining brand recognition for Reform. | Leon Neal/Getty Images

This guilt, he said, was due to the impact he believed his decision was having on his avid fanbase, left bereft by his decision not to stand for parliament. 

But another kind of reasoning was also at work. Dismissing earlier remarks about cutting a possible deal with the Tories, Farage repeatedly referred to their “betrayal” when it came to issues he considers totemic — delivering Brexit, and bringing down immigration levels. 

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