‘If you’re a real Conservative, you should vote Reform UK - but only in one circumstance,' says Lance Forman

Nigel Farage in Reform UK campaign pictures and Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak on campaign visit

Lance Forman wanted the Reform Party to do 'well in the hope that the Conservatives would need them as a coalition partner to run the country'

PA
Lance Forman

By Lance Forman


Published: 03/07/2024

- 16:20

Lance Forman is a former MEP for London. He rejoined the Conservative Party in 2020, after moving to the Brexit Party in 2019

In the General Election on July 4, I shall be voting Conservative, but you should probably vote Reform, especially if you’re a real Tory. Here’s why.

Whilst I have been a Conservative most of my adult life, including having worked as a Special Adviser to Peter Lilley, then Secretary of State for Trade & Industry back in 1991-92, I moved over to the Brexit Party for the European elections in 2019, only to return to the Tories in the weeks prior to the 2019 elections where Boris Johnson won a huge majority.


As far as I was concerned back then, the Brexit Party risked dividing votes which would have given an advantage to Jeremy Corbyn and put the whole Brexit project at risk.

I was both right and wrong.

The Tories came to power with a stonking majority, but they did not deliver Brexit in the way many of us hoped.

Deregulation has not happened; a free-trade deal was not accomplished; nor control of our borders.

Aside from Brexit, the Tories failed on the economy, increased taxes, pushed for minimum global corporation tax rates, and killed the future economy with a suicidal commitment to Net Zero. I could go on… and on.

Everything one might expect a Conservative Government to do, they failed at and squandered their huge majority. And I don’t accept Covid as an excuse; they made poor decisions there too.

More recently, and close to home for me, being Jewish, the Tories have failed to stop the vicious spread of antisemitism by allowing the hate marches to continue week by week when chants for genocide, holy war and terror are freely allowed on our streets.

This is not free speech, it’s incitement. Furthermore, the marches were never a response to Israel’s defensive actions; the rally’s started on the night of the October 7 massacre three weeks before Israel even started its retaliation.

Yes, the Met Police have been blamed and so has the Mayor of London, but the Government must take ultimate blame for weakness and failure to step in. Of course, Labour would be worse on all of this.

Over the last couple of years, I have attempted to persuade Richard Tice, former leader of Reform, to focus on 50 winnable seats rather than fight nationwide.

Support for Reform is growing fast, especially now that Nigel Farage is at the forefront, but even if it polls well, with support spread evenly around the country, it will likely yield few seats in Parliament.

I wanted the Reform Party to do well in the hope that the Conservatives would need them as a coalition partner to run the country which would have had the effect of forcing the Conservatives to move back to their traditional place on the political spectrum and not try and plagiarise Blairism.

But Richard was adamant; the Tories need to be punished.

Whilst I sympathise, this strategy in my mind is short-sighted and tactically misguided and will leave Reform with less power than they might have achieved if they were able to be a minority coalition partner with disproportionate strength to steer policy.

There is no great love for Keir Starmer amongst the electorate and I believe that between The Conservatives and Reform, they will win the majority of votes, so to hand the keys of No.10 to Labour is self-defeating.

In my own constituency of Finchley & Golders Green we have a superb Conservative Party candidate in Alex Deane.

Alex is hoping to replace Tory MP Mike Freer who is stepping down after death threats and his constituency office being fire-bombed purely as a result of Mike having the temerity to support Israel.

It’s a brave decision on Alex’s part. The seat is marginal and could easily move to Labour. It was a significant Remain seat in the referendum at 69 per cent versus 31 per cent for Brexit, so unlikely the Reform candidate will perform well.

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Alex is a small state Tory, believing in low tax, sensible on Net Zero and also a proud Zionist, despite not being Jewish.

A vote for Alex is crucial to help keep Labour out, whereas a vote for Reform, would help put Labour in.

So whilst I read the Reform Party ‘contract’ and agree with more of it than I do in the Conservative ‘Manifesto’ and also share the desire to give the Tories a massive shake-up to wake them up from their progressive stupor, I implore Tory voters to consider voting for Reform next week.

But, and this is a big but, do consider local circumstances carefully. Real Reform can only happen if Reform MPs make it into Parliament.

Check the local polls and if Reform are ahead of the Tories, go for it and don’t forget to encourage your friends.

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