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Reform leader and Tory chairman in online ‘bully’ row

Reform UK leader Richard Tice was branded a “threatening bully” by Tory chairman Richard Holden over a veiled threat made to a senior Conservative.

Mr Tice issued a warning to Tory deputy chairman Jonathan Gullis, claiming he possessed “multiple bits of embarrassing personal information” about the Stoke-on-Trent North MP.

Mr Holden then intervened in the extraordinary row on social media, calling Mr Tice a “silly man”.

In a post on X, Mr Tice issued a “special Easter message to Tory MP Jonathan Gullis”, saying: “Given the multiple bits of embarrassing personal information we have on you, I suggest you pipe down on your attacks against me.”

Mr Holden responded: “What a threatening bully (Mr Tice) is exposing himself to be. Silly man.”

The online spate appeared to have been triggered by Mr Gullis’ criticism of Reform in the Mail on Sunday.

The newspaper reported that the Nigel Farage-linked party’s would-be MPs include a convicted animal abuser and a fortune-teller who sold spells for £200 on the OnlyFans website.

Mr Gullis said: “Reform says its candidates have been vetted and given that all of this information was in the public domain, we can only assume this cast of characters passed Mr Tice’s muster.

“We are clearly not just talking about a ‘few rotten eggs’ here. If you are promoting candidates banned from looking after dogs, how can you honestly say they are capable of looking after the interests of their constituents?”

A major poll and seat-by-seat analysis conducted by Survation has indicated the Tories could be reduced to just 98 MPs at the general election – but that figure would rise to 150 if Reform stood aside.

The Survation analysis suggested Reform UK was set to come second in seven seats with an overall national vote share of 8.5%.