Sunak Says Reform UK Will Disappoint Tory Voters Switching Sides

(Bloomberg) -- Rishi Sunak said Nigel Farage cannot deliver for British voters on immigration or tax, and warned that people considering voting for the right-wing Reform UK party risked getting the “precise opposite” of what they want.

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“You’re voting for someone themselves who says success looks like one, two, three MPs?” Sunak told reporters on a campaign visit to Devon ahead of the general election on July 4. “Is that really what you want to vote for?”

Sunak was speaking on a tour of constituencies in southwest England on Tuesday that the Conservatives would typically expect to hold, a sign his campaign is taking an increasingly defensive stance as opinion polls show Keir Starmer’s opposition Labour Party on course for a landslide majority.

Bloomberg’s polling composite also shows Farage’s return to front-line politics to lead Reform UK and stand as a candidate has boosted support for this party. That poses a challenge for Sunak because it suggests that the right-wing vote is splitting even more, potentially easing the path to power for Labour.

The premier has been trying to shore up support. On Tuesday, Sunak met veteran Tory politician Geoffrey Cox in his West Devon seat, where he’s defending a majority of almost 25,000. Then he attempted to feed sheep with Foreign Secretary David Cameron in North Devon, currently held by Conservative MP Selaine Saxby with a majority of nearly 15,000.

“I know people are frustrated, I get that,” Sunak said. “What I’d say to everyone who’s thinking like that is you are gonna get the precise opposite of what you want if you vote like that,” he added when asked about Reform.

Even so, he declined to criticize Reform on its policy platform — a clear sign that the premier is trying not to alienate voters he’s trying to encourage back into the Tory fold.

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