Millionaire Reform donor becomes party chairman as deputy leader Habib replaced

A millionaire Reform UK donor will become the party chairman as former deputy leader Ben Habib loses his role.

Reform UK announced the parliamentary roles their MPs will be taking on as leader Nigel Farage aims to “professionalise” the party.

As the five Reform MPs take their place in the House of Commons, with Mr Farage swearing in on Thursday, the party say they are aiming to “develop into the only real opposition”.

New Reform UK MPs – London
(Left to right) Lee Anderson MP, Reform UK leader, Nigel Farage, Rupert Lowe MP, Reform UK deputy leader, Richard Tice, and James McMurdock MP (Maja Smiejkowska/PA)

Reform faced criticism over their election campaign due to racist comments made by their candidates, several of whom were dropped before polling day.

Richard Tice MP moves from the role of chairman to become deputy leader replacing Ben Habib, while Lee Anderson MP will become the chief whip.

Businessman Zia Yusuf, who donated thousands to Reform over their General Election campaign, has been appointed chairman.

Mr Farage said: “These appointments are the first step to ensure that Reform UK is fit and ready to take forward its positive message.

“I have no doubt that we will professionalise the party and change politics for good.”

Writing on X, former deputy leader Mr Habib said: “I have just been informed by Nigel Farage that Richard Tice is taking over as deputy leader of the party. Consequently I no longer hold that position.

“I am considering my position more generally in light of this change.

“I have long held concerns about the control of the party and the decision making processes. I will reflect on all of this.

“The key for me is that Reform UK stays true to the promises made to the British people. The movement we have created does not belong to us, it belongs to the people. We are obliged and indebted to the British people.”

Mr Yusuf, who earned an estimated £31 million from selling his luxury concierge app Velocity Black last year, was a vocal supporter of Reform’s immigration policy as well as being a party donor.

Mr Yusuf said: “It is an honour to be appointed Chairman of Reform UK. Against all odds, under Nigel Farage’s leadership, our people’s movement won four million votes, elected five MPs with 98 second places.

“This is just the beginning. The important work of professionalising the party, building national infrastructure and continuing to grow membership has already begun.

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage arrives at the House of Commons
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage arrives at the House of Commons (Maja Smiejkowska/PA)

“I will bring all my expertise, energy and passion to the role to ensure we achieve our mission of returning Great Britain to greatness.”

New deputy leader Richard Tice said he is “delighted” at Mr Yusuf’s appointment.

He said: “We plan to expand our operation and infrastructure at pace from here, and having someone of Zia’s experience and highly successful track record is fantastic news.”

Mr Anderson, the MP for Ashfield, is the party’s only returning MP after defecting to Reform from the Conservatives earlier this year.

He said: “Using my experience of the twists and turns of Parliamentary life and procedure to ensure that our team is focussed and delivers for our constituency and the more than four million voters will be a great honour and pleasure.

“The fox is in the henhouse.”