Response after MP Sir Edward Leigh calls on Reform voters to join Conservatives

Richard Tice and Nigel Farage on the campaign trail in Old Leake.Richard Tice and Nigel Farage on the campaign trail in Old Leake.
Richard Tice and Nigel Farage on the campaign trail in Old Leake.
Reform chairman Richard Tice has reiterated his party’s ambitions after MP for Gainsborough Sir Edward Leigh suggested they should be invited to join the Conservatives.

Sir Edward – who retained his Gainsborough seat, but with a reduced majority – was talking to BBC Look North on Friday after the elections and said his party had been "completely trashed” because the right wing vote is divided.

Speaking about Reform UK leader Nigel Farage, who was elected as an MP in the Clacton constituency, Sir Edward said: "We've got to, I think, invite Reform voters and Farage to join us.

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"Because otherwise in five years' time, we are going to have a similar debacle.

Gainsborough MP Lincolnshire WorldGainsborough MP Lincolnshire World
Gainsborough MP Lincolnshire World

"We can't have a divided right wing vote.

He added: "I would absolutely welcome him in.

"If he wants to stand for leader, that would be a matter for our members."

However, Mr Tice – who won the Boston and Skegness seat from Conservative Matt Warman in an historic shift – said he wanted to make it clear the Reform party has had its own agenda from the start.

"Our aim is to become the real opposition to Labour over the coming years,” Mr Tice told Lincolnshire World.

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During his interview with the BBC, Mr Leigh also criticised the Conservative election campaign, saying: “Our fundamental mistake was the political mistake of not taking Reform-type voters seriously and we should have delivered properly on Brexit.

"We should have stopped all this mass legal migration. Then we should have stopped the boats.

"And that was our biggest error."

Sir Edward, 73, who was first elected to his Lincolnshire seat in 1983 has been appointed the Father of the House as the longest serving MP in the Commons. Today (Tuesday) one of his first duties as Father of the House was to call on the Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle to serve as Speaker.

It is expected Mr Tice will be back in his constituency of Boston and Skegness by the end of the week to begin his work as the new MP.

  • See full election night coverage in our print editions of the Boston Standard, Skegness Standard, Horncastle News, Louth Standard, Market Rasen Mail and Sleaford Standard – OUT TOMORROW!

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