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Farage backs DUP candidates despite TUV-Reform pact

Farage backs DUP candidates despite TUV-Reform pact
10 Haziran 2024 21:51
4

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage has said he will be personally endorsing two DUP candidates in the general election – despite his party’s alliance with the rival Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV).

He told the Press Association he would be throwing his weight behind Sammy Wilson and Ian Paisley.

The TUV leader said he found out from the media.

Mr Paisley is the DUP candidate in North Antrim, where he will be challenged by TUV leader Jim Allister.

Mr Allister said his party entered an electoral arrangement with Reform UK “in good faith” and called Mr Farage’s move “disappointing”.

Mr Wilson is running in the East Antrim constituency, where the TUV candidate is Matthew Warwick.

The TUV announced an electoral alliance with Reform UK in March when Richard Tice was the party leader.

Mr Farage replaced him last week.

The TUV applied to run its candidates under a joint banner of “TUV/Reform UK” on ballot papers, but that was rejected by the Electoral Office so it is running under “TUV no sea border”.

Mr Allister said he was “surprised” to find out about Mr Farage’s endorsement “when the media reported it”.

But he said: “The endorsement that TUV seeks in this election is that of ordinary voters.

“The comments by Mr Farage today are, of course, disappointing and not compatible with the content of a conversation I had with him last week.”

Reform UK said they are “committed” to the alliance with the TUV.

In a statement, they said: “Candidates will be standing under our joint logo throughout Northern Ireland.

“Nigel Farage was giving a personal view in respect of two DUP candidates with whom he has worked closely in the past, but he has not changed the policy and does not intend to do so.”

Mr Farage said: “New leadership brings change.

“I wish the TUV well, but I’m gonna stand up to support Sammy Wilson and Ian Paisley as people I fought with all through the Brexit years.”

The DUP’s North Antrim candidate Ian Paisley said Mr Farage’s endorsement is not surprising.

“I’ve known Nigel for many years, and indeed in 2019 Nigel endorsed me. He also endorsed Sammy in 2019.”

Mr Paisley also said he is “surprised Jim thought that he had something that he didn’t have”.

“I think it actually clears up some of the confusion around how Jim maybe oversold what he had,” he added.

A photograph of Mr Farage alongside Mr Paisley delivering his endorsement appears on the DUP candidate’s election leaflet.

In response the two DUP candidates called on the TUV to drop the Reform UK branding.

They said: “Nigel Farage is a household name and we welcome his endorsement as the best pro-union candidate in our constituencies. Nigel knows us and knows our record of delivering for the people.

“This is very embarrassing for Jim Allister as the Reform UK leader has endorsed us rather than him.”

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