Elections are won from centre ground, Jeremy Hunt warns

Elections are won from the centre ground, Jeremy Hunt has said, amid Tory concerns that Reform UK will take voters from the right of the party.

Mr Hunt’s warning against a move to the right comes after Nigel Farage announced he would be standing as a Reform candidate in the General Election.

In an interview with the Guardian, the Chancellor admitted it would be “very difficult” for the Conservatives to win on July 4.

According to recent polling by YouGov, Reform is within two points of the Conservatives, with Labour on 40%, the Tories on 19%, Reform on 17% and the Liberal Democrats on 10%.

Nigel Farage
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage is standing in the election (Yui Mok/PA)

He told the newspaper: “The evidence of Britain is that elections are always won from the centre ground and I think in a two-party system that will always be the case.”

He added that the Conservative Party will “always be a broad church” which is “a good thing”.

Mr Hunt said Reform’s aim is to “smash” the Tory Party which will lead to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer being in No 10.

In Tuesday’s ITV debate, Rishi Sunak appealed to voters wavering between the Tories and Reform in his closing statement.

The Prime Minister said: “Either Keir Starmer or I will be your prime minister and a vote for anyone else makes it more likely that it will be him.”

He also told voters “you don’t know what you’d get” if they choose Labour.

James Cleverly appeared to suggest the party could be open to leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if it helped to protect the UK’s borders.

POLITICS Election Polls
(PA Graphics)

Asked by reporters about whether the party could pledge to leave the agreement during the election campaign in response to Mr Farage’s return to frontline politics, the Home Secretary said: “We have absolutely made the point that the ECHR needs reform and we have driven reform.

“We have already driven reform of the ECHR which demonstrates that it can be done.

“But the Prime Minister has been absolutely clear, I have been absolutely clear: our priority is to protect our borders, to defend our nation, and if we are presented with a choice between defending ourselves or the views of a foreign court, we will always, always, choose to defend our borders, defend our country.”

Pressed again about whether the Conservatives would leave open the possibility of leaving the ECHR, Mr Cleverly said: “The point that the Prime Minister has made consistently, the point that I have made consistently, is that when presented with a choice, one of which is about not protecting our borders and the other is about protecting our borders, we will always choose to protect our borders.”